Welcome to Yorkshire: Tour de Yorkshire
In retrospect, it seems like a grand ambition to divert the world's most famous cycle race through Yorkshire. But showing characteristic northern grit, Welcome to Yorkshire were determined to bring the Grand Départ of the 2014 Tour de France to the region. As the bidding began to hot up, the Tour Organising Committee made a scheduled visit to view Welcome to Yorkshire’s plans for hosting the 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 Départ.
We set out to create a leave-behind for the visiting committee members – something that would leave a lasting impression of the region and its people. On a very limited budget, we produced a book, ‘The Strength to Succeed’ which features emotive imagery of 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 portraits of Olympic track cyclist and World Champion Ben Swift. The book conveys 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 unique.
Against all odds, the Yorkshire bid was successful. The first stage of the 2014 Tour de France ran from Leeds to Harrogate, with Stage 2 from York to Sheffield. It's estimated that hosting the world’s most famous cycling race brought in excess of £100m in economic benefit to the region.
The event started a cycling boom across the region, 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 experiencing cycling for the first time.