Fri, Jun 27, 2014 - Page 17 News List

Entry fee makes grand departure from tradition

By Trevor Ward  /  The Guardian

Some fans have described Yorkshire’s decision as the thin end of the wedge. I would argue that it is nearer to the fat end. For me, the thin end of the wedge came two years ago during the London Olympics, when organizers charged fans up to £15 to stand on the side of the road to watch the road race go up Box Hill in Surrey.

Their argument was that it was to cover the cost of an environmental impact survey. Yet, with the greatest respect to the straw belle moths and brown hairstreak butterflies of Box Hill, the indigenous wildlife of various national parks in the Alps, Pyrenees and Dolomites has remained largely undisturbed by the annual incursion of thousands of fans during the tours of France, Spain and Italy (As turned out to be the case at Box Hill).

My fear is that Yorkshire’s Grand Depart could leave behind an unintended legacy — that of a once egalitarian, easily accessible sport being turned into a shameless money-spinner. Am I alone in thinking the next step could be turnstiles on the Tour of Britain?

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