The residency of the British ambassador to France, just off the Champs-Elysées scene of Bradley Wiggins’ triumph last summer, provided the backdrop yesterday (17 January) for the announcement of the routes of the UK stages of the 2014 tour de France.
Yorkshire will stage next year’s 101st edition of Le Tour de France Départ.
The county will put on two stages before the peloton winds its way to London, which staged the Grand Départ for the 2007 Tour.
The first stage will start on Saturday 5 July 2014 in front of Leeds Town Hall. The stage will cover 120 miles through the countryside and Yorkshire Dales National Park, before reaching Harrogate, where the first Yellow Jersey of the Tour de France 2014 will be awarded.
The next day, the riders will leave from the historic city of York for Sheffield on a 125-mile stage.
The Tour heads south on Monday 7 July, with a stage from Cambridge to London.
After passing the Olympic Park, the race will continue along the banks of the Thames and will finish will be on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace.
Christian Prudhomme, Tour de France Director, said: “Yorkshire is a region of outstanding beauty, with breath-taking landscapes whose terrains offer both sprinters and attackers the opportunity to express themselves. We have encountered a phenomenal desire to welcome the Tour de France and no doubt that popular acclaim will be particularly in evidence over there.”
Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “The routes of the Grand Départ will showcase some of Yorkshire’s iconic cycling climbs and the county’s land and cityscapes. The peloton will be technically tested as they tackle some challenging terrain in what are sure to be two exhilarating days of racing in the county.
“The British public’s response since the news broke that the 2014 Grand Départ would be hosted in Yorkshire has been overwhelming and I am sure the route announcements today will encourage even more people to come to the county to experience for themselves the phenomenon that is Le Tour.”
Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council, said: “I am proud and excited that Leeds has been given the honour of starting this amazing and legendary race. The Grand Départ is going to be a real celebration for everyone in the city and our very special guests from all over the globe to enjoy, highlighting the best that Leeds and Yorkshire has to offer.”
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said: “It has been the most incredible epoch in the history of cycling that any of uscan remember; and I am absolutely delighted that the world’s greatest cycling race is coming to the capital. People will see London framed by shooting velocipedes for what will be a fantastic spectacle of sport. I am going to be in the crowd and I hope thousands more will too.”
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