County ready to support Tour de Yorkshire’s return

Tour De Yorkshire cyclists riding through Market Weighton earlier this year.

Tour De Yorkshire cyclists riding through Market Weighton earlier this year.

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The Tour de Yorkshire cycle race looks set to be supported by North Yorkshire County Council for the next two years.

Senior councillors are expected to approve spending on the race totalling £180,000 a year in 2017 and 2018 at a meeting next week.

A report to be considered by the council’s executive says the county has enjoyed “significant, local, national and international exposure” as a result of the race which began in 2015 as part of the legacy of Yorkshire hosting the Tour de France.

Substantial sections of both the 2015 and 2016 race took place on North Yorkshire roads with every district apart of Richmondshire involved.

The report describes TV coverage of the event, which is shown in 178 countries, as a “major opportunity to show the world our local communities and also the stunning landscapes across the county”.

“Towns and villages across throughout the county have in the main fully embraced the race, with many of them decorating their respective towns and villages with painted bikes, flags and bunting,” it says.

However, councillors will also be told that the race is not universally supported by the county’s residents because the disruption it can cause to journeys and services such as bin collections.

The report also concedes that the race can be seen as a “luxury” at a time when the authority is having to make major budget savings.

Members of the executive will be recommended to approve the county’s continued financial support for the Tour de Yorkshire.

The £180,000 a year would include North Yorkshire’s contribution to the fee paid to race organisers ASO and cover other costs the county incurs from hosting the race.

If councillors give the go-ahead it is expected the county will insist at least half of the race in both years is held in North Yorkshire.

Regional tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire, which runs the event with ASO, is seeking commercial sponsorship which would reduce the amount of money the region’s councils have to pay towards the event.

The race generated around £60m for the economy this year.