Council leader issues ‘spread the word’ call as Le Tour is coming

The Leader of Leeds City Council has called on everyone in the city to “get ready and spread the word” as more details were today revealed about the Grand Départ of next year’s Tour de France.

An update report on the preparations being carried out as Leeds gears up to be host city for the world’s largest annual sporting event is to be discussed by the council’s executive board at its meeting at Civic Hall on Wednesday 18 December.

The report gives an insight into the progress being made in the preparations by the council and other local authorities along the route and in the region, as well as with partner agency Welcome to Yorkshire and TdFHUB2014Ltd, the government company based in Leeds set up to co-ordinate planning for the first three stages of next year’s Tour in the UK.

The 2014 Tour de France begins on The Headrow in Leeds city centre on Saturday 5 July, and Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield said:

“The purpose of this report is to hopefully provide reassurance to everyone that the preparations are coming along well to deliver an incredible Tour de France Grand Départ.

“Another reason is that before we reach the end of the year, we want everyone to start thinking about how the Tour is going to impact on them next summer. It is going to be an unprecedented, fantastically exciting few days for Leeds and Yorkshire, but it is going to impact significantly on the city and it is hugely important everyone gets ready for that and also spreads the word so nobody is left unsure of what is happening.

“Lots of information will be going out in the months to come about road closures and alterations to services, which is where word-of-mouth has a massive role to play as it is the best way of making sure family, friends and colleagues know what is going to happen on that historic weekend next July.”

To receive the latest Tour information for Leeds as it is released, everyone is encouraged to email granddepartleeds@leeds.gov.uk to sign up for updates.

Among the new details released in the report are:

- Millennium Square is to be the official hospitality area for the start of the Tour in Leeds

- Leeds city centre will also host a press and media centre for approximately 2,000 journalists and staff covering the event from all over the world

- The Tour’s famous publicity ‘caravan’ of vehicles which precedes the race each day will be based on the former Leeds International Pool site before moving to Woodhouse Moor to form up before heading to the start on July 5

- All riders and teams taking part in the Tour will attend a briefing in the city before heading to the first direct arena for the opening ceremony on Thursday 3 July

- The riders will carry out the traditional ‘signing-in’ ceremony on the morning of the race on Victoria Gardens on The Headrow

The full route which was revealed at the end of October sees the Tour’s traditional non-racing ‘rollout’ take the riders along The Headrow to Eastgate then along Regent Street and following the A61 Scott Hall Road and Harrogate Road through Moortown and Alwoodley and on to Harewood.

Turning left at Harewood, Le Tour will pass the historic Harewood House before turning left again onto the A659, where the 190-kilometre stage one officially begins. It then heads on to Pool-in-Wharfedale, Otley, Ilkley and Skipton, before turning north and heading through the Yorkshire Dales. The final element of the stage sees the route return south passing through Ripon before the finish in Harrogate.

The report reveals a series of planned communications to residents and businesses, especially those directly impacted by the route, will have taken place by the end of April.

The preparations already carried out include consultation with councillors across the city, plus discussions with parish councils and Otley Town Council on celebration events around the Tour planned in local communities.

Leeds City Council is engaged with businesses in the city, along with Welcome to Yorkshire and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) to maximise the economic benefits and opportunities the Tour de France brings.

Welcome to Yorkshire is also leading on the 100-day Cultural Festival of the Grand Départ, with discussions underway for a street performance programme in Leeds city centre in the days leading up to the race start. In addition, Leeds City Council has offered arts grants through its Leeds Inspired programme to community groups and small arts organisations for activities around the Tour.

Schools in Leeds will also be benefiting from the Grand Départ, as they will be following the new education pack for key stage two and three pupils launched last month as part of the ‘Cycle Yorkshire’ legacy programme for the region.

The Tour de France Grand Départ forms part of a packed sporting weekend as July 5/6 also features quarter-finals of the football World Cup, the Wimbledon tennis finals, the Formula One British Grand Prix at Silverstone and the Queen’s Baton Relay for the Commonwealth Games.

Councillor Wakefield added:

“There is still a lot of work to do between now and July, but hopefully this report has shown that things are coming together nicely and that we are on course to deliver an unforgettable celebration which everyone can be part of in Leeds next summer.”

Notes to editors:

The budget for delivering the Grand Départ of the 2014 Tour de France is £21million, made up of £9.936m of government funding and £11.040m from local authorities.

The Leeds City Council contribution remains at £3.6m, of which £500,000 will be spent on road resurfacing on the route and strengthening works to Victoria Gardens which will be the focal point as the startline area for the Tour on The Headrow.

Stage 2 of the 2014 Tour de France is from York to Sheffield, while Stage 3 is from Cambridge to London.


For media enquiries please contact:

Roger Boyde,

Leeds City Council press office,

Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk