LOCAL businesses and organisations are keeping their fingers crossed that Ryedale and the North York Moors will be announced as hosts of the Tour de France.
There are high hopes that the world’s greatest cycle race will travel through the area during its stop off in Yorkshire on July 5 and 6, 2014, giving the local economy a much needed boost and the chance for locals to see such cycling heroes as 2012 Tour winner Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish.
The full route will be announced in Leeds and Paris on January 17.
One business hopeful at the suggestion that the Grand Depart will come into the North York Moors National Park via Sutton Bank and Dalby Forest is Adrian Carter, of Dalby Bike Barn.
“This news is fantastic for the region both in terms of bringing more visitors into our amazing part of the world but also once again having the opportunity to turn the spotlight onto Dalby Forest which has hosted not just the World XC Mountain Bike Series in the past but also a stage of the road racing Tour or Britain,” he said.
Mike Hawtin, who recently took up the role of Cycling Development Officer with CTC - the National Cycling Charity, added: “The prospect of having such a prestigious cycling event come to the area would help get the message across that Dalby is a fantastic destination for all sorts of cycling and abilities rather than just the mountain biking it is renowned for.”
“With over two billion people expected to watch Le Tour live on television it will be a wonderful advert for Yorkshire and hopefully it will prompt many people who haven’t sampled the delights of our region to book a holiday here and enjoy a bike ride during their stay.
“One thing is certain - Yorkshire will receive a massive Olympic style boost from the event which will help raise the profile of cycling in the county for years to come and it will hopefully inspire many more people to enjoy getting around on two wheels.”
The Tour de France last visited the UK in 2007, when London hosted a prologue ahead of a road stage from the capital to Canterbury which attracted two million spectators.
Janet Waggott, chief executive of Ryedale District Council, said: “‘Ryedale welcomes the news and looks forward to the announcement which will determine the exact route. This will be a very exciting event and a great boost to the local economies.”
And Catriona McLees, head of promotion and tourism at the North York Moors National Park, said: “It is great new for Yorkshire and we delighted to support such a fantastic event that will encourage more people to get on their bikes and enjoy the North York Moors National Park countryside.”