The chairman of Ryedale’s Tourism Advisory Board believes that it is vital the planned Tour of Yorkshire travels through the heart of the district if it gets the go-ahead.
William Oxley says the race, which would build on the legacy of this year’s Tour de France, would help Ryedale to get over the disappointment of failing to have the Grand Depart come to the district.
“It is absolutely imperative that it comes through Ryedale and Ryedale properly,” said Mr Oxley, who is also a member of Pickering Town Council. “The organisers are talking about touching the parts that the Tour de France didn’t and I am desperate to ensure that the centre of Ryedale is included in that.”
The Tour of Yorkshire would welcome world class cyclists back to the region for three days of racing from May 1 to 3, 2015. An application to stage the race has already been submitted to the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) by Welcome to Yorkshire, British Cycling and Amaury Sport Organisation, the organiser of the Tour de France.
A study by ResearchBods revealed that a third of the UK’s population had their opinions of Yorkshire positively changed, thanks to the Grand Depart, with a quarter of the country now wanting to visit the county.
The official Grand Depart website, meanwhile, had 2.5 million page views during the weekend with visitors from 190 countries, and large traffic from Australia, USA, France, Canada and the Netherlands.
It is that level of interest which Mr Oxley and Ryedale District Council wants to tap into - and the Tour of Yorkshire going through the heart of the district would go a long way to ensuring that it benefits local businesses, and cycling attractions such as Dalby Forest, Newbridge Park in Pickering and Sutton Bank’s new bike trail.
“We want to ensure we get a voice at the table in terms of this route and the cycling legacy that comes our of the Tour de France. We have struck early - we are the first body that has gone back to them.”