In parliament yesterday, Jane Griffiths, MP for Reading East and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, praised the Tour de France and suggested that a Tour of Britain could regenerate rural areas still reeling from the effects of foot-and-mouth. This was met by cross party cheers.

MPs cheer a suggestion for a new Tour of Britain

Griffiths, a helmet-wearing cycle commuter aimed her question at the Leader of the House of Commons, Robin Cook MP:

"My right honourable Friend will know that the Tour de France is on and is being enjoyed by millions, although, sadly, in this country only viewers of ITV2 can watch it. Does he agree that a tour of Britain would be a wonderful opportunity not only to inspire our future cycling stars but to regenerate rural areas that suffered so badly from foot and mouth last year? Will he be able to find time for a debate on the future of cycling as a sport?"

After the cheering had died down, Cook replied:

"My honourbale Friend is right. The Tour de France is followed closely by many residents of Britain. She made an interesting proposal, which I note was received favourably on both sides of the Chamber. For myself, as long as I do not have to take part, I am willing to give a fair wind to her tour of Britain."

Griffiths was possibly referring to the news that the Milk Race may be resurrected, as reported on and in this week’s ‘Cycling Weekly’. Allin Bewes, a dairy farmer and former member of the now defiunct Milk Marketing Board, is said to have been working on bringing back the race for the past three years. Bewes announced plans for the new Milk Race at the recent Royal Show at Stoneleigh and said he needs £1.5m to run the race.

Sport England is said to be supportive of the new Milk Race and would stump-up 35 percent of the start-up costs. ‘Cycling Weekly’ reports that Bewes is hopeful the BBC would televise the event.

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