This morning the details of the Grand Départ of the Tour de France 2014 were revealed in the imposing setting of the residence of the British ambassador to France, just off the Champs-Elysées where the UK had its first winner of the race in 2012: Bradley Wiggins.
The 101st edition of Le Tour will start Yorkshire, with two attractive and spectacular stages, before finally arriving in London.
The first stage will start on Saturday 5 July 2014 in Leeds. The stage will cover 120 miles (190 km) through countryside including the Yorkshire Dales, 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 very tricky 124-mile (200-km) stage whose final section, especially with the formidable Holme Moss to climb, will resemble a short Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Christian Prudhomme, Tour de France Director, said, “Yorkshire is a region of outstanding beauty, with breathtaking 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 stunning 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, “As a city we are absolutely thrilled to be hosting the start of the world’s largest annual sporting event in 2014, and speaking personally as an avid fan of the Tour de France and keen cyclist for over 25 years, I am incredibly 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 for a few days that none of us will ever forget.”