Sports Minister visits Leeds to sample Le Tour build-up


Caption: Helen Grant MP pictured centre left (holding Grand Départ cycling jersey) with Benton Park School pupils and right of the Minister Sir Rodney Walker (chair of TdFHUB2014 Ltd), Peter Dodd (Commercial Director of Welcome to Yorkshire) and Bob Howden (President of British Cycling). Left of the Minister are Cllr Judith Blake (Deputy leader of Leeds City Council and executive member for children’s services) and John Mills (British Cycling Coaching, Education and Development Director)

Minister for Sport and Tourism Helen Grant MP paid a visit to Leeds today to see how the city is preparing for and being inspired by hosting the start of this year’s Tour de France.

The Minister made a trip to Benton Park School in Rawdon to find out how the pupils are getting involved with all aspects of cycling with just three months to go before the Grand Départ begins in the city.

Also in attendance were guests including chair of TdFHUB2014 Ltd Sir Rodney Walker, President of British Cycling Bob Howden, Leeds City Council deputy leader and executive member for children’s services Councillor Judith Blake, Welcome to Yorkshire Commercial Director Peter Dodd and Yorkshire Regional Director for Sustrans Paul Osborne to give an update on how the city and region is gearing up for the world’s largest annual sporting event.

At the school, the Minister watched as pupils took part in a session on their bikes as part of Go-Ride, British Cycling's development programme for young people.

Working with British Cycling Go-Ride Coach Chris Young, Benton Park now has bike lessons as part of its PE programme and also has a weekly bike club attended by approximately 30 pupils.

The school is also part of the Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund programme (Access to Education), promoting sustainable travel and road safety to encourage more pupils to ride to and from school. This is being delivered as a joint partnership between Sustrans and Leeds City Council. Through the project the school has received new bike parking, a fleet of pool bikes, help from a Sustrans Schools Officer, and financial contributions to a new pedestrian crossing outside the school that became operational this week.

Such has been the success of the programme that Benton Park has one of the highest rates of pupils riding to school in the city, with just seven out of more than 250 pupils in Year 7 now being taken to school by car.

Minister for Sport and Tourism Helen Grant MP said:

“It was great to be in Yorkshire to get an update on how plans are progressing for the Grand Depart. It’s going to be a fantastic event that will showcase Yorkshire to the world, boosting local tourism and encouraging more people to get on their bikes and take up the sport. The children at Benton Park were certainly enjoying their ‘Go Ride’ session with British Cycling and that is something that is being replicated at schools right across the country, as excitement builds ahead of Le Tour.”

Chair of TdFHUB2014 Ltd Sir Rodney Walker said:

“We were delighted to welcome the Minister today, to see for herself the effect the Tour de France is already having to inspire a future generation of cyclists. Our team is working hard to make this the best Grand Départ ever seen and create an economic and social benefit far beyond July. With less than 100 days to go, we are on track to deliver the biggest free sporting event ever seen in Britain - made possible with the support and financial backing of the Government of which the Minister is a part.”

Deputy leader of Leeds City Council and executive member for children’s services Councillor Judith Blake said:

“I am pleased that the Minister was able to visit Leeds today, sampling the excitement and enthusiasm there is for cycling and the Tour de France which is rising by the day all over the Yorkshire region. It is especially important for our young people like those at Benton Park School to be getting involved in cycling as we are committed to ensuring there is a lasting legacy from this amazing event.”

President of British Cycling Bob Howden said:

“British Cycling has established a superb record of delivery when it comes to ensuring there is a participation legacy from major sport events. Through our Sky Ride, Go-Ride and Breeze programmes and facility development, we are working hard to provide thousands of opportunities for people of all ages to get on their bikes. The Tour de France is a massive focus for all cyclists and we are committed to maintaining the momentum that this unique event brings with sustainable benefits for cycling and communities.”

Benton Park School Head of Design and Technology Jonathan Farnaby said:

“The cycling programme here has made a real impact since we decided to try and make it part of the mainsteam curriculum here a couple of years ago and we are grateful to our partners for all their support. The pupils really took to it across all types of cycling, and the success of British cyclists at London 2012 and Sir Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish at the Tour de France has helped it to become even more fashionable with the pupils. They are hugely excited at the chance to see their cycling heroes in action in Leeds and we can’t wait for July to get here.”

For more information on the Grand Départ of the 2014 Tour de France in Yorkshire, and stage three from Cambridge to London, visit www.letouryorkshire.com.

Notes to editors:

1. In 2014, the Tour de France returns to the UK for three stages. The Yorkshire Grand Départ comprises two stages - Leeds to Harrogate and York to Sheffield - before the Tour moves south for a third stage from Cambridge to London.
- Saturday 5th July - Stage One: Leeds - Harrogate: 190km (118 miles)
- Sunday 6th July - Stage Two: York - Sheffield: 200km (125 miles)

- Monday 7th July - Stage Three: Cambridge - London 170km (106 miles)

2. TdFHUB2014 Ltd is a not-for-profit company set up by UK Sport to co-ordinate the Government’s budget and the delivery of the Tour de France Grand Départ in the UK. It is based in Leeds and will be dissolved after the Tour.

TdFHUB2014 Ltd’s board includes representation from Yorkshire and Cambridge local authorities, British Cycling, Transport for London and UK Sport. The board is chaired by Sir Rodney Walker, the former chair of UK Sport, and is joint vice-chaired by Councillor Keith Wakefield, the Leader of Leeds City Council, and Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire.

3. As previously announced there are three separate budgets to support planning for the three English stages of the Tour, which total £27m. The budgets are held by local authorities, TdFHUB2014 Ltd and Transport for London. TdFHUB2014 Ltd manages the £10 million of Government support.

4. The Tour de France Grand Départ will form part of UK Sport’s Gold Event Series, an ambitious programme to bring up to 70 world class sporting events to the UK by 2019 to help build on the outstanding success of London 2012. http://www.uksport.gov.uk/pages/gold-events-series/

Sustrans is a leading UK charity working with communities, policy-makers and partner organisations so that people can choose healthier, cleaner and cheaper ways to travel. For more information visit www.sustrans.org.uk/

For further media queries contact:

Roger Boyde TdFHUB2014 Ltd

Email roger.boyde@tdfhub2014ltd.co.uk