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Sports minister visits Go-Ride club as excitement builds ahead of Yorkshire Grand Depart

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Published: 24 September 2013

On Tuesday 24 September Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport and Tourism, visited Leeds to hear how plans for the Yorkshire Grand Depart are progressing and meet key staff that will deliver the start of the world’s most famous cycle race.

During his visit, Mr Robertson met members of the TDF 2014 Ltd board, staff from Welcome to Yorkshire, representatives from local authorities and members of Ilkley Cycle Club.

Ilkley, a Go-Ride Clubmark Club, have gone from strength to strength in recent years and are now not only one of the UK’s biggest cycling clubs, with over 1,000 members, but have also recently won the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s  Community Sport and Recreation Overall Winner Award. The Club has an established youth development pathway; running regular coaching sessions for young people and regularly organising rides for its members across parts of the Yorkshire Dales, including sections which will make up the Grand Départ route in 2014.

"As a local cycling club we are here to support in whatever way we can - before, during and especially afterwards."

Ilkley CC club secretary Paul O'Looney

A number of volunteers from Ilkley Cycling Club were on hand to chat to Hugh about their club development, including the club secretary Paul O’Looney:

“Both cyclists and non-cyclists across Yorkshire are so excited to welcome Le Grand Depart in 2014. As a local cycling club we are here to support in whatever way we can - before, during and especially afterwards, as the legacy aspects of Le Grand Depart will be critical to the growth of cycling in the region.”

British Cycling’s Director of Coaching and Education, John Mills, said:

“There is no doubt that cycling is now one of our national sports and the excitement that is building about the world’s biggest bike race coming to Yorkshire next year is being felt across Britain. We want to turn Britain into a nation of people on bikes and the Grand Depart will provide us with a fantastic opportunity to build on the legacy we’ve already kick started from producing countless Olympic and Paralympic champions and two British winners of the Tour de France.”