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Leeds council expects a ten-time return on investment
The 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart in Yorkshire will cost the British region an estimated £10 million according to a report by the Yorkshire Evening Post newspaper.
Tour de France organisers opted for Yorkshire ahead of other bids from Edinburgh in Scotland and Florence in Tuscany when they announced the host of the 2014 Grand Depart last December.
Leeds will host the pre-race events, with the stage one on July 5 taking the riders from Leeds to Harrogate. Stage 2 will tackle the Pennines between York and Sheffield, before a transfer south for the last stage in Britain between Cambridge and central London.
The Grand Depart organisers have never revealed their budget for the event. The Yorkshire Evening Post claims the Grand Depart will cost Leeds close to £3.6m, with other cities and regions covering the remaining £6.4m.
It is estimated that close to £4.5m will go to race organisers ASO, with the rest spent on costs such as resurfacing roads, hospitality, events, safety, IT and a festival.
Local councilors are convinced that hosting the Grand Depart will produce a ten-fold return on investment and boost Yorkshire's profile around the world.
The Yorkshire Evening Post quotes council leader Keith Wakefield as saying: “Hosting the Grand Depart of the 2014 Tour de France is in my view the biggest sporting coup Yorkshire has ever achieved. The eyes of the world will be firmly on the city and the region next July, offering profile-raising and promotional opportunities for the county on an unprecedented scale."
“While this is a significant amount of money, the expected return on that investment for the region is likely to be well in excess of £100m, a ten-fold return which will provide an incredible boost to the economy of Leeds and Yorkshire."
British prime minister David Cameron has promised to try and help with the costs of the Grand Depart but Matthew Sinclair of the Taxpayers Alliance association warned against using public funds to fuel regional council events.
“This must not become an excuse for council staff and quangocrats to run up huge bills at taxpayers’ expense as has happened at so many similar events before,” Sinclair is reported to have told the Yorkshire Evening Post.