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The government will help Yorkshire fund the start of the 2014 Tour de France after heavy lobbying, a Conservative MP has said.
Julian Smith, MP for Skipton and Ripon, said after a meeting with Maria Miller, the culture secretary, that the £10m cost underwritten by local authorities would be funded by the government.
The culture department said it wanted the event to be a success and would provide up to £10m for the “Grand Depart”, in Leeds in July 2014, but only if an Olympic-style delivery agency was set up.
“The current plans are not strong enough to deliver the world class event we all want and expect,” it said.
“We would like to see a more joined-up approach to the organisation of the world’s biggest cycle race which will ensure we maximise the benefits for Yorkshire and the other parts of England that the race will pass through,” it said. The cycle race will head for London and Cambridge after Yorkshire.
Yorkshire is home to several marginal seats and the Tour comes less than a year before the general election.
The world’s biggest cycle race should generate £100m for the region, with an estimated 3m spectators lining the route. It will pass through Sheffield, Harrogate, York and some stunning moorland scenery before heading to Cambridge and London.
Mr Smith said: “The investment will support Yorkshire in making sure we capitalise on the opportunities that come from having the world’s largest annual sporting event in our county.”
Hugh Robertson, sports minister, wrote to Leeds city council this month to say that UK Sport could not back the event because the proposal included only Yorkshire and there was no guarantee it would be successful.
“You will understand how the failure to successfully deliver the technical aspects of the event would reflect on the nation as a whole,” he said.
“It is therefore imperative that an appropriate delivery body is established, which recognises the reputational risk to the national pride [sic] that would come from a failure to deliver the tournament to the highest standard.”
The race will pass through the Olympic Park in London and along the Mall in the course of a third stage starting in Cambridge.