Tour de France: 'Thousands back' Yorkshire's 2016 bid

tour de france London hosted the opening stages of the race in 2007

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More than 150,000 people have supported Yorkshire's bid to host the first two stages of the 2016 Tour de France cycle race, tourism bosses have said.

Yorkshireman Brian Robinson, 81, the first British cyclist to win a stage of the Tour in 1958, also backs the bid.

A team is in Paris to push the bid to stage a 114 miles (185km) a day route covering Leeds, York, Hull, Sheffield, Scarborough and the Yorkshire Dales.

Yorkshire is competing against Barcelona, Venice, Berlin and Scotland.

The Tour de France is an annual three-week race held in France and neighbouring countries.

The first two days of racing, the Grand Depart, are held in a new location outside France every two years.

'Dream come true'

Gary Verity, chief executive of the regional tourism agency, Welcome to Yorkshire, said: "We have over 150,000 pledges of support from the public backing our bid, we have the landscape, the people, the passion and the resources behind us to host a world class Grand Depart.

"Yorkshire is the heartland of cycling in this country.

"We have produced champions like Brian Robinson, Barry Hoban and Malcolm Elliott and we want to bring Le Tour to the county to pay tribute to those early pioneers of English cycling success and to inspire a new generation of champions to follow in their footsteps."

Mr Robinson, from Mirfield, West Yorkshire, said securing the race for his home county would be the "icing on the cake" for British cycling.

He said it would be "another dream come true".

Those behind the bid said the Yorkshire route would include hill sections to rival some of the Alpine stages.

Stages were last held in the UK in 2007 in London and Kent.

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