Wakefield’s cycling legend Barry Hoban wants the Tour de France in Yorkshire

Barry Hoban
Barry Hoban

Cycling legend Barry Hoban has urged Tour de France bosses to stage the race in his beloved county.

The Stanley born rider, who won eight stages of the world’s greatest cycle race between 1967 and 1975, is backing a bid to bring the Tour de France to Yorkshire.

Mr Hoban, 72, who knows Tour director Christian Prudhomme, told the Express: “I would say to him ‘I spent the majority of my professional life as an ex patriot, please come and see my country and my county.”

Interest in cycling in Britain is booming after Bradley Wiggins on Sunday became the first Brit to win the Tour in its 109-year history.

Tourism body Welcome to Yorkshire’s campaign aims to start the Tour in Leeds as early as 2013. It already has more than 150,000 pledges of support from its Back Le Bid website.

Mr Hoban doubts the Tour would come up Stanley Hill where he used to ride, but believes the stages should showcase Yorkshire and take in sights like York, Whitby, The Dales and the North York Moors.

He added: “We are selling Yorkshire. We’ve got to show the beauty and history of Yorkshire. We have got to go through York, have a hot sprint in York, showing York Minister and the walls. If you watch the Tour de France see how often they zoom in on Châteaux and Abbeys. There’s some amazing scenery, an ideal climate and Yorkshire has always been a hot bed of cycling in Britain.”

And Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “Yorkshire is at the heart of cycling in this country, we have produced champions like Brian Robinson, Barry Hoban and Malcolm Elliott and we want to bring Le Tour to the county to pay tribute to those early pioneers of English cycling success and to inspire a new generation of champions to follow in their footsteps.”