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Greg Mulholland MP hails Yorkshire Grand Depart a triumph

July 9, 2014 10:12 AM

Greg Mulholland MP, Member of Parliament for Leeds North West and Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group Tour de France group, has hailed the Yorkshire Grand Depart of Le Tour de France a triumph that Yorkshire should be very proud of.

The first stage of the 101st Tour de France set off from Leeds on Saturday, as an estimated one million people gathered in Yorkshire to see the beginning of the race.

The world's largest cycle race passed through three communities in Greg's Leeds North West constituency - Arthington, Pool and Otley. Local residents and visitors to Yorkshire lined the streets in huge numbers, providing an electric atmosphere and a fantastic weekend the region should be proud of.

Thanks to a friend with a motorbike, Greg made it to Leeds City Centre for the Grand Depart. Although a tyre puncture did risk the days plan, Greg made it back to Otley to see the Tour pass through the historic market town, which was also an official spectator hub for the race.

Greg backed the Welcome to Yorkshire's 'Back le bid' campaign to host the initial stage of the 2014 Tour, one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world, and was delighted when in 2012 it was confirmed that the opening stage will be in Yorkshire.

Greg, who saw the world largest cycle race pass through his constituency on Saturday, said:

"The Tour de France coming through Yorkshire was a triumph, an unforgettable day and an amazing occasion that Yorkshire should be very proud of. It made me proud of our area, which looked so fantastic for the world to see.

"Communities were out in huge numbers and were joined by many visitors and each community had a wonderful party atmosphere to celebrate this once in a lifetime occasion.

"A huge congratulations and thanks must go to Gary Verity and to Welcome to Yorkshire for winning the bid and promoting Yorkshire to the world, to TDF2014 Ltd and to city, town and parish councils for delivering a very well organised race and events and to local businesses, farms, churches, pubs and village halls who all worked hard to put on entertainment and fun for the thousands of people who descended on the area.

"I was delighted to get into Leeds City Centre to see Le Grand Depart, courtesy of a friend and his motorbike, though this was looking very unlikely on Saturday morning until a very helpful biker fixed a puncture! We got into Otley for the magic moment the Tour went through and here as in every community en route, the atmosphere at that moment was just electric.

"Already we are seeing a real legacy of this amazing weekend, with a huge boost to the local economy, more people cycling locally, more people interested in watching cycling and news of a new annual 3 day Tour of Yorkshire race, starting next year. Now we want to see everyone committed to a concerted strategy to boost cycling and improvements to roads to encourage even more people to get on their bikes, whether for sport or fun or just to get to school or work. This is how Le Tour Yorkshire will live on for generations to come".