One of the top men in Yorkshire’s Tour De France triumph has been given an honorary degree by Huddersfield University.

Sir Rodney Walker, chairman of the company formed for the English part of the Tour De France, said he was delighted to be made an Honorary Doctor of the University of the Year.

And the former chairman of the Rugby Football League and World Snooker Association revealed the Tour had inspired thousands of southerners to come up to Yorkshire on their holidays.

He said: “We all remember the dramatic scenes of Buttertubs Pass and Holme Moss, but the third day in the south east was equally as successful.

 

“And we now know that 20% of the people from the south east who’ve never been to Yorkshire now say they’re thinking about coming.”

Sir Rodney, who was knighted in 1996 for his services to sport, said he was delighted the Grand Depart had come in under budget, despite fears beforehand it was going to be millions short.

And he said he was sure the legacy of the event would last.

He said: “Overall, 4.5m people turned out to watch it which makes it the largest event ever held in the UK.

Sir Rodney Walker, chairman of the Tour De France Hub, receives an honorary degree from Huddersfield University
Sir Rodney Walker, chairman of the Tour De France Hub, receives an honorary degree from Huddersfield University
 

“While there’s this very good feeling left over from the event is capitalise on that and make lots more cyclists and build on the legacy of the tour.

“We couldn’t have had more support from the 17 local authorities that were involved and they all seem to have their own plans for how they now create more facilities for cyclists.”

Millions lined the streets of Yorkshire for the Grand Depart this month. The boost to the county’s economy was estimated at £100 million.

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