Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced that the government is giving Yorkshire £800,000 towards cycling facilities in the region and to help promote the new Tour de Yorkshire race to an international audience.
The news coincides with Welcome to Yorkshire, which is organising the race in partnership with Tour de France owners ASO with the support of British Cycling, launching a promotional video for the event, which debuts in early May.
Some £300,000 will go towards showcasing the event – and Yorkshire generally – to potential foreign visitors, while most of the money, £500,000, will be spent on constructing an unspecified number of closed road circuits.
The latter investment will be spread across 2015/16 and 2016/17 and is subject to planning consents and local partner funding being secured.
It is hoped that the facilities will help bring through young talent to follow in the tracks of famous Yorkshire cyclists such as Beryl Burton, Lizzie Armitstead, Brian Robinson, Barry Hoban and Ben Swift, to name but five.
Mr Clegg, who is MP for Sheffield Hallam, said: “Yorkshire wore the yellow jersey with pride last year, with an incredible staging of the Tour de France Grand Depart. The Tour de Yorkshire this summer is the perfect opportunity to build on this lasting legacy, attracting visitors again, which in turn will boost business in the region.”
Highlighting that the government has already committed £10 million to help devise a co-ordinated tourism strategy for the north of England, he added: “This further funding will ensure the Tour de Yorkshire gets international attention on a grand scale, whilst investment for new facilities will help the sport grow so that everyone can enjoy cycling.”
Welcome to Yorkshire’s chief executive Gary Verity, the man behind the successful bid to bring the Tour de France Grand Départ to the region, said: "It is our ambition for the Tour de Yorkshire to be one of the best three-day cycle races in the world so this funding to help us promote the event internationally is very welcome.
“Last summer people saw the glorious landscape of Yorkshire as a perfect setting for a world class event, and they’ll see that again this May – and hopefully for many years to come."
Ian Drake, CEO of British Cycling, described the investment as “great news for the sport and great news for Yorkshire.”
He added: “Expanding the network of traffic free cycling facilities has been a key ambition for British Cycling and we are continually supporting and investing in projects to offer cycling opportunities for all.
“Traffic free facilities are vital to increasing participation in cycling and we will continue to work with funding partners to support projects, large and small, nationwide.”
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.