Report: Yorkshire's Grand Depart debrief

The impact of the UK Grand Depart is to extend far beyond 2014, says official report
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Despite taking place last summer, the full significance of the “grandest Depart of them all” – in the words of ASO boss Christian Prudhomme – is still being felt.

While critics have argued that the impact of the Grand Depart has been overdone, including some of the respondents to BikeBiz’s 2014 Retail Survey, statistics in the Three Inspirational Days report say otherwise.

In December, Tour de France stakeholders invited the media to launch the report detailing the economic legacy of the Grand Depart. Those stakeholders include Welcome to Yorkshire, Leeds City Council, Transport for London, UK Sport and TdFHUB2014.

The report found that the UK Grand Depart budget of £27m, supplemented by thousands of unpaid volunteers, earned £130 million. More than £102 million was generated for Yorkshire, with £30 million for Cambridgeshire, Essex and London. The expected overall economic benefit figure is expected to rise to in excess of £150 million.

Welcome to Yorkshire’s CEO Gary Verity had anecdotes to supplement the official figures, including local hotels having forward bookings for next year up 30 per cent and even an ice cream vendor who sold almost a year’s worth of ice creams in eight hours during the stages.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council, added: “Was it a risk to put on in times of austerity? Of course it was. But it proved local authorities can work well together with great results, given time and resources.” Wakefield underlined the importance of legacy, pointing to the proposed cycle superhighway from Leeds to Bradford – “had you suggested that three years ago you would have been laughed out of the county”.

The report provided insight into the nation’s thirst for at least watching cycling. Roadside crowds reached 4.8 million over the three days, including those that watched the event at multiple locations. A total of 3.5 million individuals watched. Those viewing the race on TV amounted to 18.6 million people in the UK. Tourism, in the short term, benefitted to the tune of £33m thanks to 113,000 visitors from outside the UK. The accommodation sector alone clawed in £24.3m in the host areas.

To read more on the robust Three Inspirational Days report and Le Tour’s economic worth, head to www.yorkshire.com

Bums on saddles?
While it’s hard to quantify how the Grand Depart impacted on cycle sales, the ‘Three Inspirational Days’ report did have stats on those influenced to get in the saddle after seeing all those pro cyclists riding locally. Around two million spectators felt inspired to cycle more regularly and one million had cycled more frequently since the race. Has that impacted on the cycle trade? Surely the answer must be yes.

Separate British Cycling stats said that 95,000 people had taken part in British Cycling registered events in the regions touched by Le Tour in a year where total participation across all British Cycling’s recreational programmes increased by 64 per cent. And if none of those have bought at least an extra inner tube in the process, then we’re a monkey’s uncle.

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