As Christian Prudhomme’s second-in-command, Pierre-Yves Thouault has presided on races all over the world.
But no other race in ASO’s portfolio comes close the Tour in Thouault’s eyes.
He told RCUK: “It’s not only the first ever big cycling race in the world, it is still the third biggest event on the calendar behind the world championships and the Olympics – and the Olympics is only every four years.
“We are very excited for the Grand Depart. It will be a success for sure, and we have a great team here in Yorkshire.”
And having attended Welcome to Yorkshire’s Y14 tourism event in Harrogate, and spoken to a packed auditorium, Thouault is more confident than ever about the Grand Depart.
“The response from the people of Yorkshire has been incredible. Even for an event like this, 2,000 have come to watch.
“It was, of course, not all about the Tour but the Tour de France was the common through it.
“It will be a success and when the Grand Depart is a success, the Tour is a success.”