Region bids for Tour de France

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CYCLING’S Tour de France could pass through Sheffield as part of an ambitious bid to bring the event to Yorkshire in 2016.

Tourism chiefs have been in Paris discussing plans to bring the opening stage of the race – the Grand Depart – to the county.

If the bid is accepted, the first two days of the Tour will be held in the north, beginning in Leeds. The route would take the cyclists up to the Yorkshire Dales, then east to Scarborough via York and the North York Moors, before dropping south to Hull and finally to Sheffield.

The Grand Depart is held in a new location outside France every two years and talks on bringing it to Yorkshire have been taking place for a number of months. At least 22 teams and their entourages would come to the county.

If successful, the county would benefit to the tune of tens of millions of pounds from extra visitors and would be the focus of a worldwide television audience of over two billion people.

More than 185 countries show the Tour de France every year on 92 television channels with the last hour of every stage broadcast live across Western Europe.

More talks are due to take place next month and plans are under way for the organisers to visit Yorkshire.