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Flat Cap News / 7 ways the Grand Depart boosted Yorkshire
The peloton cycling through Yorkshire in the 2014 Tour de France. Picture Ian Taylor/geograph.org.uk

7 ways the Grand Depart boosted Yorkshire

report released by the organisers of the Grand Depart has spelled out the impact of bringing the Tour de France to Yorkshire.

It showed the Tour provided an economic boost of £102m to the region, accounting for the vast majority of the £128m benefit brought to the UK as a whole by the three race stages.

More than  1m people flooded into the county – spending £87.9m in the process – as Yorkshire played host to one of the world’s biggest sporting events.

That the report was positive is perhaps no surprise, however we have picked out a few key telling figures that show just how much of an impact Le Tour had on Yorkshire.

Huge crowd numbers


The number of people who came out to watch the Tour de France action live in Yorkshire was simply stunning. Prior to the race organisers had spoken hopefully of between two and three million people watching the race from the roadside.

However even that ambition was surpassed as a combination of excitement and scorching weather enticed 3.3m people to spend part of their July weekend watching the Tour.

That figure dwarfed figures in London, even accounting for the fact Yorkshire had two stages to the South East’s one. Those attendance figures were undoubtedly affected by torrential rain and the fact Stage Three was held on a Monday.


More than a quarter of Yorkshire residents watched the Tour


The sheer scale of the turnout from people in Yorkshire is demonstrated by this chart above. More than a quarter of the 5.3m people who live in Yorkshire went to seen the tour live.

This is despite the fact the Tour was only able to visit several big cities and towns in the region in its two day stay.

Councillor John Weighell, Leader of North Yorkshire County Council, said the Grand Depart weekend had been “momentous”.

He told the report: “We brought a global event to the county with such success – hundreds of thousands of spectators lined our streets and country roads and there was a television audience of millions.

“It brought together our communities, businesses and all our partner agencies who pulled together so effectively and presented this beautiful county to the world.”


A third of people walked to watch the Tour


The creation of a carnival spirit at many locations along the route can in part be attributed to the fact that so many people walked to their race vantage point.

Less than 30% of people drove, a figure that owed much to the road closures and potential for long traffic jams. More people who either cycled or caught a train.

The trains around Yorkshire were particularly packed as fans aimed to watch both the start of the race in Leeds and its finish in Harrogate during the first stage on Saturday.


The Tour has inspired cyclists under 45


The experience of watching Chris Froome and co whizzing down the Yorkshire roads has inspired many people among the crowds to give cycling a go for themselves.

More than half of everyone asked – below pensionable age – said they were more likely to get on their bike as a result of the Grand Depart. So we may see more Yorkshire champions in the future.

Bob Howden, President of British Cycling, told the report: “[The tour] set a new standard – not just in terms of the amazing support on the road but also inspiring a wave of cyclists, young and old, to get on their bikes.”


We think the Tour has been good for us…


One of the report’s most important findings is that we think the tour was good for us.

More than 90% of residents at both Yorkshire stages believed the event provided a much needed boost. People living near the route for Stage Three in the South East were less sure.


And so do businesses in Yorkshire


That positive assessment was shared by businesses in the region.

Despite initial discontent over road closures caused by the wake of race the response from Yorkshire firms to the Tour was very positive. Again their reaction was better than the South East, where only 33% of businesses thought the Tour had enhanced the image of the region.

Andy Ormrod, Managing Director at Flying Colours, who make flags in Harrogate, told the report: “The tour outweighed any expectation we had…we saw more orders and busier website traffic than we did even for the Queen’s Jubilee.”


Our visitors enjoyed themselves too


The majority of the 1m visitors to Yorkshire enjoyed their experience too.

Three-quarters of those asked said they would recommend the region to friends and family with a similar number stating they felt it had improved Yorkshire’s reputation as a tourist destination.

That is positive news for Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, Gary Verity – the man credited with attracting the Tour. His stated ambition was that the Grand Depart would change the “mindset” of outsiders to the region.

Do you think the report has given an accurate reflection of the impact of the Grand Depart? Leave you comments below.

Image: The peloton cycling through Yorkshire in the 2014 Tour de France. Picture Ian Taylor/geograph.org.uk


My background is in regional newspaper reporting but I'm now mainly involved in online journalism. When I'm not writing I'm a Journalism lecturer at Leeds Trinity University and alongside managing this site I set-up the ltjournalism.com blog which covered the Grand Depart in Yorkshire.

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