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Tour de France gives Craven economy a boost
2:57pm Thursday 24th January 2013 in News
Craven’s economy is already beginning to benefit from the announcement that the Grand Départ of the 2014 Tour de France will pass through parts of Craven.
The route was revealed on Thursday and sparked a flurry of accommodation bookings across the district.
Day one will see 200 cyclists riding from Leeds to Harrogate, passing through Draughton, Skipton, Rylstone, Threshfield, Kilnsey, Kettlewell and Buckden, while day two takes in Silsden, Addingham and Bolton Abbey as the riders makes their way from York to Sheffield.
The two stages – due to take place on July 5 and 6 – are expected to attract more than a million spectators.
“We already have six rooms booked,” said Sue Rudden, who runs the nine-bedroom Grassington House Hotel at Grassington with her husband, John. “I think it is going to be good for the village and I know the locals are very excited.”
It is also rumoured that few bed and breakfast rooms are left in nearby Kettlewell.
Estimates suggest that the Grand Départ could boost the local economy by tens of millions of pounds and put Yorkshire's towns and villages on the map.
The decision to bring the world famous race to Yorkshire for the first time follows a huge push by tourism group Welcome To Yorkshire.
Christian Prudhomme, Tour de France director, said: “Yorkshire is a region of outstanding beauty, with breathtaking landscapes whose terrains offer both sprinters and attackers the opportunity to express themselves. We have encountered a phenomenal desire to welcome the Tour de France and no doubt that popular acclaim will be particularly in evidence over there.”
Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity said: “The routes of the Grand Départ will showcase some of Yorkshire’s iconic cycling climbs and the county’s stunning land and cityscapes.
“The peloton will be technically tested as they tackle some challenging terrain in what are sure to be two exhilarating days of racing in the county.
“The British public’s response since the news broke that the 2014 Grand Départ would be hosted in Yorkshire has been overwhelming and I am sure the route announcements today will encourage even more people to come to the county to experience for themselves the phenomenon that is Le Tour.”
Four-time British cycling champion Sid Barras, who lives in Whitley Head, Steeton, said: “I am totally delighted, it is really going to heighten the profile of local cycling. It is really exciting. You are not going to get better racing roads then around here – they can be really tough but this race will feature the creme de la creme of cycling.”
Rylstone’s Pete Williams, winner of the sprint classification in the 2012 Tour of Britain, said: “It’s brilliant that the route is passing through the area. It was great that it was announced the tour was coming to Yorkshire and so for the route to include this area is the icing on the cake and I’m sure it will be a fantastic weekend.
“The event really is the biggest single sporting event in the world so for it to come here and be on people’s doorstep is a huge thing for the area. It will be great for the race to pass my front door and use the same roads I and many others train on every day.”