A smoother ride ahead for Tour de France competitors

POTHOLES along the Tour de France route through the Yorkshire Dales are to be filled in as part of a £400,000 repairs project ahead of the race, officials have confirmed.

Potentially dangerous signs and street furniture will be removed, and the road will be swept before cyclists set off.

North Yorkshire County Council has estimated the work will cost £400,000. The authority is providing £200,000 with the remainder coming from the three district authorities – Richmondshire, Harrogate and Craven – which will host the race.

Councillor John Blackie, leader of Richmondshire District Council, will tell colleagues at next week’s full council meeting that the authority has put aside around £50,000 to contribute towards the work.

Highway chiefs say they will inspect the road and carry out repairs as required before the event in July next year.

North Yorkshire County Council said competitors were not expecting to ride on a velodrome-like surface.

However, a spokesman added: “We will of course be inspecting, repairing and planning works on the network with the race in mind and considering the risks associated with that.

“If it is found that remedial work is required on the route then the necessary work will be carried out.

“It is important to recognise that any work carried out will provide long term benefit for the whole network and all users for years to come and should not be seen as an expense solely for a single race.”

Coun Blackie said the district must make the most of the event “before, during and afterwards”.

He said: “Our local businesses will have a tremendous boost and not only those directly involved in tourism as there will be support services needed as well.

“We must make sure our tourism and support businesses make the most of this world-class event held amidst our world-class scenery not only on the day itself, but during the run-up to the race, and afterwards as an enduring legacy.”

Coun Blackie said the council owed Welcome to Yorkshire its sincere thanks for securing the cycling race.

The authority is still looking for businesses to match its £5,000 towards the subscription to the tourism agency.

The council decided it could not afford to pay an increased membership fee of £10,000. But when concerns were raised by tourism groups, it offered to match fund if private sector organisations could put up £5,000.

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