£10m for Yorkshire Tour de France funding in the balance

Questions raised over business plan for Cambridge to London stage

MPs are today petitioning the government to reaffirm £10m for Yorkshire’s 2014 Tour de France hosting expenses, after concerns emerged that the business plan failed to address costs for the Cambridge to London stage.

In a letter from Hugh Robertson, minister for sport and tourism, to the chief executive of Leeds City Council, he said Welcome to Yorkshire’s business plan failed to address issues with hosting the race on the third stage between Cambridge and London. It means it’s likely that UK Sport, the government body that would allocate the funds, will reject the plans as they stand.

However, Julian Smith, MP for Skipton and Ripon and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Yorkshire and UK Tour de France 2014, told BikeRadar he was confident £10m would be confirmed in the next 24 hours, either in the budget or directly from the culture secretary Maria Millar, who Smith and a group of Conservative MPs will meet.  

He said the Department for Culture, Media and Sport wanted to get costs “bottomed out” now before releasing the funds: “UK Sport is going to reject the current structure that’s been put in place. From a governance point of view and from a business plan point of view this isn’t a fully funded bid – they thought it was – and in order to give further public money to it, changes need to be made.

“I think Hugh Robertson and Maria Millar are looking at this from the perspective of the Olympics. Take policing. The bid’s view might be we’ll sort the policing out, but the view from ministers is that could be a massive cost and we need to get all this bottomed out now.”

Late last week, Graham Titchener, who is overseeing the legacy of the Tour’s 2014 visit, revealed that Sustrans, CTC and British Cycling had pledged “an awful lot of money” to the Yorkshire start.

And tomorrow, Welcome to Yorkshire will announce plans for how they will promote the 2014 grand départ at this year’s race, which starts on the island of Corsica for the first time. A spokeswoman told BikeRadar they will release a statement after talks have taken place.

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