HOTEL, guest house and bed and breakfast owners in East Lancashire should move now to take advantage of a huge tourism boost from the Tour de France, says a regeneration chief.

Promoters of the road race have confirmed that the two Yorkshire legs will come within a few miles of the area, skirting Skipton at one end and Todmorden at the other, as reigning cham-pion Chris Froome looks to make it a British hat-trick.

And moorland revival experts Pennine Prospects are urging tourism businesses in Burnley and Rossendale to ‘gear up’ for the tour’s arrival next year.

Holiday outlets in the Ribble Valley and Pendle are also well-placed to provide accommodation for cycling enthusiasts and clubs, as Yorkshire towns directly on the route become fully-booked.

Mark Turner, Pennine Prospects operations director, said: “The announcement of the route will be a good memory jogger for those looking to attend.

“If you can provide good accommodation, within 10 or 15 miles of the route, ideally with a place where cyclists can lock up their bikes overnight, then there are definitely opportunities out there.

“This is quite an important milestone and a lot of places along the route are already fully booked.

“We have spoken to bed and breakfast operators in Rossendale, who are very keen on cycling, and that has helped them to get involved.”

Todmorden has already launched a ‘Tour de Tod’ group and is planning a series of cycling-themed events, as the York to Sheffield stage uses Cragg Vale as one of its hill climbs.

Coun Tim Swift, leader of Calderdale Council, which covers Todmorden, said: "This is a fantastic, once in a lifetime event for Calderdale. To have such a prestigious event on our doorstep is an amazing opportunity.”

Traders in Burnley have also jumped on the tour bandwagon, with fine food and coffee shop Earls, in Manchester Road, running a series of competitions themed around Gallic cuisine.

Pennine Prospects has already held meetings in Burnley to encourage businesses to profit from ‘The Grand Depart’ next July.

Grand Depart

  • The Grand Depart will be the first time the Tour De France has been in the UK since 2007.
  • The last visit in 2007 was strictly a southern affair with riders tackling a 203km course from London to Canterbury. The tour was also held this side of the Channel in 1994 and 1974.
  • leeds will host the first stage, where riders will face a circular route around the Yorkshire Dales, ending in Harrogate.
  • Cragg Vale, between Todmorden and Sowerby Bridge, part of the York to Sheffield stage, is said to be the longest continual uphill climb in the country.
  • The third and final UK stage will be from Cambridge to London, before the action switches to the continent, en-route to a Paris finish on July 27.