10:56am Friday 25th January 2013
By Amanda Greaves
Ilkley and Otley will see the world’s best cyclists racing through the streets next summer when the Tour de France makes its way through Yorkshire.
The route of the Yorkshire leg was finally unveiled last week, revealing the race passes through some of Wharfedale’s finest landscape, as predicted by many.
Estimates suggest that it could boost the economy by tens of millions of pounds and put local towns and villages on the map.
The race’s Grand Depart will be held in Leeds on July 5, 2014, with competitors riding through Pool-in-Wharfedale, Otley, Ilkley and past Addingham on the first day, then to Skipton on the way to Harrogate.
On the second day, the route will head through Addingham, Silsden and Keighley on the way south to Sheffield.
The action then moves to London and France.
Reaction to the announcement has been ecstatic, with many predicting 2014 to be a bumper summer for the area.
The leaders of both Leeds City Council and Bradford Council have welcomed the announcement of the route The decision to bring the world-famous race to Yorkshire for the first time follows a huge push by tourism group Welcome To Yorkshire, with race organisers impressed with what they saw.
Bradford Council leader Councillor David Green said: “I’m delighted the route is coming through the district on both days.
“We need to make sure we make the most of the benefits such a major sporting event will bring.
“It will boost the local economy and we will work with partners in the private sector to look at ways we can make the most out of it for the benefit of the whole district.”
He defended a financial contribution of more than £330,000 for the bid for the Tour de France to come to Yorkshire – even though it will miss the city itself.
Leeds City Council leader, Councillor Keith Wakefield said: “The terrain and views in and around Otley are a cyclists’ dream, and it is simply fantastic that the world’s greatest athletes in the Tour de France will have the opportunity to experience these delights on a first-hand basis.
“We are also, of course, very fortunate to have Otley’s own Lizzie Armitstead as a tremendous ambassador for the sport in the city.
“Lizzie’s sheer determination and grit in claiming the first medal of the Olympics for Team GB was a real inspiration and a great motivation to us when we first discussed bidding to host the Le Grand Depart.”
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