Hopes rise over hosting Tour stages in Yorkshire

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TOURISM bosses in Yorkshire hope the Tour de France could start in the county within two years.

As the famous race kicked off in Belgium on Saturday, Welcome to Yorkshire said it was in discussions with race organisers and was hopeful it could bring the Grand Depart to Yorkshire.

A bid to bring the race start to Yorkshire - backed by Team Sky’s Ben Swift, from Rotherham - has the unanimous support of the authorities and is ready whenever Tour organisers Amaury Sports Organisation give the go-ahead.

Gary Verity, Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive, said: “As soon as ASO would wish to come to us we would be ready, willing and able to host them.

“There’s no timetable set in stone, but we’re enthusiastic and excited about those ongoing discussions.

“They know we can move quickly and we have the support of every agency required to pull this off.”

Mr Verity hosted Tour director Christian Prudhomme and other ASO leaders in Yorkshire four weeks ago and has been in Belgium for further discussions to bring the opening stages of the race to the UK, with a proposal of two road stages in Yorkshire.

Mr Verity said: “We’ve said we will deliver them not only the grandest of Grand Departs, but also the greenest of Grand Departs.

“If we’re doing two stages, you’re going to have about 400km in Yorkshire.”

About two million spectators would be expected to see the Tour in Yorkshire.

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