Welcome to Yorkshire

Tour de France bid

Pull on the heart strings

As the bidding process began to hot up, the Tour Organising Committee made a scheduled visit to view Welcome to Yorkshire’s plans for hosting the biggest annual sporting event. In addition to the technical aspects of the bid, a brief was issued to Thompson to deliver the more emotive elements of Yorkshire’s audacious attempt to win the Grand Depart. This could be in any format, but had to be handed over during the visit and cherished by the key decision makers.

Strength to succeed

In response, and on a very limited budget, we produced a book titled ‘The Strength to Succeed’ which features emotive imagery of both the county and its rich cycling pedigree. Portraits were taken of local cycling legend Brian Robinson, 81 – the first Briton to win a stage of the Tour de France, in 1958, to accompany portraiture of Olympic track cyclist and World Champion Ben Swift. The book conveys both the beautiful and varied landscape of Yorkshire as well as the character and determination of Yorkshire people, both of which combine to make the region so special.

Winning bid

Against all odds, the Yorkshire bid was successful. The first stage of the 2014 Tour de France will run from Leeds to Harrogate, with Stage 2 from York to Sheffield. It is envisaged that hosting the world’s most famous cycling race will bring in excess of £100m in economic benefit to the region. Interest in cycling in the region is booming, with over 29,000 people taking part in a host of free cycling events in the year leading up to the Tour, and a further 5,000 under 16s having experienced cycling for the first time.