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"It's not about one man": Communities gear up for Tour de Yorkshire in wake of Sir Gary resignation

"It's not about one man": Communities gear up for Tour de Yorkshire in wake of Sir Gary resignation

Published at 7:01am 17th April 2019.

Communities in Harrogate, Craven and Wharfedale are not letting the resignation of Sir Gary Verity get in the way of their preparations for the upcoming Tour de Yorkshire. 

  • Welcome to Yorkshire's former Chief Executive resigned on "health grounds" last month, but two independent inquiries into his expenses and behaviour are underway 
  • This year's Tour de Yorkshire starts on Thursday 2nd May 
  • Despite the resignation, it's businesses as usual as communities gear up for the Welcome to Yorkshire event 
  • Harrogate, Otley, Ripon, Masham, Pateley Bridge and Skipton all feature in the race

The annual Welcome to Yorkshire cycle race, set up as part of the legacy of the Tour de France, gets underway on Thursday 2nd May. 

Its ex-chief exec, Sir Gary Verity, resigned last month on health grounds 

The resignation followed an investigation which found he had "made errors of judgement regarding his expenses", and now two independent inquiries into his expenses and behaviour are underway.

Despite this, it's business as usual as communities across Harrogate, Craven and Wharfedale get ready for the upcoming cycle race. 

"It's not about one man" 

This year's race will pass through Masham and Bedale will also host a finish on day one. 

Nick Reed, Town Clerk of Bedale Town Council, is helping organise the event in Masham and Bedale and says the resignation doesn't change anything. 

He said:

"Not for me at all, no. I've worked closely with Welcome to Yorkshire for five years now on bringing cycle races through Masham and Bedale. 

"The entirety of the staff at Welcome to Yorkshire, at North Yorkshire Highways, Police, the emergency services, Harrogate and Hambleton District Councils, there are hundreds of people working flat out on this race. 

"It's was never about one man and it's not about one man now. 

"The race is going to continue and thrive I'm sure."

The riders will pass through Skipton on Sunday 5th May. The town's planning on capitalising on the event, with the Waterway Festival being held on the same day. 

Skipton BID Manager Geraldine Thompson hopes the race will continue past this year. 

She hopes the town can play a bigger role in 2020. 

She said: 

"We had high hopes so whether those hopes are dashed or whether we'll still have what we're hoping for...who knows?

"But fingers crossed because we are massive Tour de Yorkshire fans."

James Ellis, from Visit Otley, also hopes the race will continue. 

He said: 

"As of now, there's been an outstanding cycling legacy that's been left behind by the great work that he did when he was in charge at Welcome to Yorkshire and I say long may that continue. 

"If there are more cycling events taking place, it's fantastic for the whole county and for Otley in particular, 

"I think there's a strong legacy now behind the Tour de Yorkshire. 

"I think it's now such a popular part of the racing calendar from a professional perspective but also I think from a public perspective."  

However Keith Tordoff, Chairman of Nidderdale Chamber of Trade, says the event may need to change in the future. 

He said: 

"I think the tour needs to develop, like anything, I think there needs to be some change. 

"I think they need to look at how they can bring that change about. Because complacency sets in to some extent."

The Tour de Yorkshire takes place between 2nd - 5th May. You can see the full route and race timings here.