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District urged to play its part for le Tour

Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire Gary Verity with the Chief Executive of Harrogate Borough Council Wallace Sampson, leader of Harrogate Borough Council Cllr. Anthony Alton and the director of The Tour de France Christian Prudhomme.    (1301171AM19)

Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire Gary Verity with the Chief Executive of Harrogate Borough Council Wallace Sampson, leader of Harrogate Borough Council Cllr. Anthony Alton and the director of The Tour de France Christian Prudhomme. (1301171AM19)

The countdown to the 2014 Tour de France will begin in earnest come the turn of the year.

In January the 2014 Grand Départ Cultural Festival programme will be revealed, along with exactly who will be named an official Tour Maker volunteer.

Reaching 2014 signals the seven month countdown to the arrival in Harrogate district of the world’s largest annual sporting event.

Towns and villages across the district are meeting to discuss plans and the ways in which they can make the most of it.

And Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, the organisation behind the 2014 Grand Départ, is urging people to play their part in welcoming le Tour to their front doors.

He said: “I would say to people - play your part.

“If you can decorate your front garden to welcome le Tour, you should! You can ride around Yorkshire today and see it - towns and villages have banners saying ‘welcome’ to the riders and the Tour.

“It is down to local communities to work in partnership with each other and with parish and other councils to welcome it.”

Authorities have been given the promotional designs necessary to order banners to put in place centrally to ensure visitors know le Tour is visiting next year.

And, although the presence of le Tour is not visible yet in that sense in every town, Mr Verity feels excitement for le Tour across the district is evident.

He said: “I sense a buzz around Harrogate for le Tour coming.

“It is a very positive thing and once we get Christmas out of the way people will start thinking about the finish of stage one in the centre of Harrogate.”

It is two months since Welcome to Yorkshire was present at the Paris unveil of the full official route, specifically focusing on the route le Tour is taking through France.

Since then, the team has visited Utrecht, Holland, the venue for the 2015 Grand Départ.

Mr Verity knows Yorkshire’s success has caught the eye of many potential venues across the world, and revealed that Utrecht was no different.

He explained: “The mayor of Utrecht said he had been trying to get the Grand Départ there since 2002.

“He said in his speech that his friends in Yorkshire had achieved in two years what he had been attempting for 11!

“We have been very busy since the route reveal.”

 
 
 

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