Sheffield Hallam University has become the first university to partner with the Tour de France as an "official supporter." The Tour de France is coming to England in July, with two stages in Yorkshire and one from Cambridge to London.
The university has taken up this exclusive opportunity with ASO, organisers of the Tour de France, through Welcome to Yorkshire. The agreement will provide enefits for students, enabling them to be involved in the world’s largest annual sporting event.
Sheffield Hallam has a long-established reputation in sport, running one of the UK’s largest ranges of sports degree programmes. It is also home to three world-class sports research centres, which have worked with governing bodies such as UK Sport and the Premier League, and with a variety of national teams and elite athletes on sports science programmes. Researchers recently won the contract to test goal-line technology in the Premier League.
This sport expertise has meant that students have been able to benefit from unique volunteering opportunities at major events, including the Beijing Olympics and Delhi Commonwealth Games, with over 200 Sheffield Hallam students taking up key roles at London 2012, more than any other university. This new partnership with the Tour de France means that students will once again be able to benefit in this way, with a range of volunteer roles exclusively on offer to them.
The University is developing a plan of activity as part of the sponsorship package that showcases its academic expertise and experience in art and design, sport, engineering, and events management, amongst others, aiming to bring the excitement of the race to Sheffield.
Speaking at the announcement university vice-chancellor Professor Philip Jones said: "In July, the eyes of the world will be on Sheffield. Our exclusive partnership with the Grand Départ continues Sheffield Hallam’s proud history of being a major educational partner at global sporting events. This is a natural fit for Sheffield Hallam."
Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “The Tour de France will shine a global spotlight on the whole of Yorkshire providing the perfect platform for Sheffield Hallam to showcase their exciting student experiences."
Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France, said: “The UK is now the centre of world cycling due to the recent success on the road as well as the track. The Grand Départ 2007 in London was a massive success but since then Mark Cavendish has won 25 TDF stages and Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome have both brought the yellow jersey to Paris. I’ve no doubt the crowds will be even bigger in Yorkshire, Cambridge and London than in 2007, which is why we are so excited to return to the UK in July. I have a feeling the Yorkshire Grand Départ will be a very special moment for Le Tour, for cycling and for all those companies involved like Sheffield Hallam."
As a result of the partnership with Le Tour, the University is seeking other opportunities to develop relationships with organisations involved in the Grand Départ to deliver student placements, employment and business opportunities.