Otley welcomes home Lizzie

A procession of cyclists has welcomed home Olympic medallist Lizzie Armitstead.

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'Super Cycle Highway' launched

The Leeds Liverpool Canal will benefit from the £30m investment. Credit: ITV

Leeds city council have unveiled their £30 million pound 'superhighway' - a dedicated cycle lane to take riders safely through Leeds and Bradford, along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal (above).

Launching the scheme, Councillor James Lewis promised that the dedicated segregated pathway would mean cyclists could stay away from cars to allow for safer journeys, and also encourage commuters to leave their cars and cycle to work.

Currently around 2% of the population of Leeds and Bradford cycle to work, which officials hope will rise significantly.

The 'Super Cycle Highway' aims to capitalise on Tour De France fever and encourage a new generation of yellow jersey riders.

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Video: Doncaster cyclist faces biggest test of career

When you think of cobbles I'm sure many of you think Coronation Street - the most famous covering of any road in the land.

But if you're a top cyclist you'd look further afield - to France in fact - for a really tough race which starts in Paris and is nicknamed "the hell of the north".

Doncaster cyclist Russell Downing, who fulfills a childhood dream by riding his first Spring classic this weekend, has been preparing for the big one on different cobbles - at Roche Abbey near Maltby as Chris Dawkes reports.

Touring le Yorkshire

The Grand Depart will take place in July 2014 Credit: Press Association

Organisers of Le Grand Depart, the Yorkshire leg of the Tour de France, are meeting with tourism bosses at a conference in Leeds today to discuss plans for promoting the region over the next 12 months.

The official entry of the "caravane publicitaire" will also be unveiled. This is the decorated vehicle, which precedes the race.

Tour de France u-turn: Government pledge £10m to Yorkshire

The Government have now pledged 10 million pounds for the grand Depart of the Tour de France in Yorkshire.

It comes after a delegation of MPs met with the Culture Secretary Maria Miller tonight to ask for a rethink when a request for funding was turned down.

“This fantastic news comes after months of hard work at Westminster and across Yorkshire from MPs. The investment will support Yorkshire in making sure we capitalise on the opportunities that come from having the world’s largest annual sporting event in our County.

“I will now be working closely with the Government and Yorkshire’s Tour de France team to ensure we have the structure and governance in place to deliver an outstanding event next year that showcases Yorkshire to the world.

“No-one can underestimate what having the Tour de France in Yorkshire means. There will be billions watching on television, millions on the streets and thousands of hotels, bed and breakfasts, shops, pubs, restaurants and other tourist destinations benefiting. We will also see investment in our roads and facilities along the route that will provide long-lasting positives for Yorkshire.

– Julian Smith, MP for Skipton and Ripon

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Minister for Sport and Tourism raises concerns

In a letter to the Chief Executive of Leeds City Council, the Minister for Sport and Tourism says it is "with regret" that he has to raise a number of concerns about its proposal.

Hugh Robertston MP thanks Tom Riordan for sending him Welcome to Yorkshire's business plan for the delivery of the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014. He continues

... you do not appear to have put in place any arrangements to deliver the event outside Yorkshire. There appears to be nothing in the business plan about the Cambridge and London legs of the event. I understand that your primary focus is on Yorkshire but I am sure you will agree that an event of this importance needs a single over-arching organising committee to ensure that it is delivered successfully from start to finish.

..... I am sure you will also agree that it is difficult, if not impossible, for UK Sport to consider funding for this event, until it has detailed information about the delivery of the event, as a whole, including the costs, not just the Grand Depart in Yorkshire. Furthermore, UK Sport cannot provide significant amounts of funding for the Welcome to Yorkshire tourism strategy. This is entirely outside of their scope, which is to deliver first class sporting events in the UK.

– Rt Hon Hugh Robertson MP, Minister for Sport and Tourism

In a handwritten footnote, he says:

"There is a real desire inside Government to get this right and get on with delivery. However we do not yet have confidence in the budget, which still seems very unsettled."

Tour de France funding meeting

Leeds is home to the "Grand Depart" Credit: Calendar news

A DELEGATION of Yorkshire MPs will meet the Culture Secretary this morning to plead for public support for the region’s hosting of the Tour De France after the Government sensationally rejected its initial funding bid.

In a shock move, Hugh Robertson, the Minister for Sports and Tourism, informed event organisers last night their request for several million pounds towards the cost of hosting the Tour’s Grand Départ has been turned down.

Skipton and Ripon MP Julian Smith will today lead a delegation of 15 Conservative MPs from the region to meet Culture Secretary Maria Miller to try to agree a funding package directly.

The MPs will press Ms Miller to provide up to £10m to ensure the Grand Départ is a success, and remain optimistic of agreeing a funding package.

Mr Smith said: “Yorkshire Conservative MPs have worked relentlessly over the past few months to secure a major funding commitment for ‘Le Tour’. I am confident we should have positive news very soon.”

Funding for Le Tour?

A North Yorkshire MP has warned tomorrow "could be a rocky day" as organisers wait to find out whether they have secured funding to help Yorkshire host the Tour de France in 2014.

Julian Smith, who represents Skipton and Ripon, will meet Culture Secretary Maria Miller tomorrow to discuss the bid for cash.

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Have arranged meeting with Maria Miller and Conservative MPs to try to nail funding for @letouryorkshire could be a rocky day tho!

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I hope #budget2013 will bring a nice double digit announcement - fingers crossed - #Yorkshire will make the most of it if it happens

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