Yorkshire will host the ‘greatest Grand Depart in history’ Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity promised today as full details of the first stages of the 2014 Tour de France were unveiled.
Verity formally presented the county at the 101st Tour’s official presentation in the Palais des Congres, with the full route for next year’s edition of cycling’s greatest race now confirmed.
And the details of the opening stages have also now been revealed in full as riders follow a flat route from Leeds to Harrogate before tackling nine climbs on the way from York to Sheffield.
And Verity promised the two Yorkshire stages, which will be followed by a third British stage from Cambridge to London before the peloton heads to mainland France, will be spectacular.
He said: “We will raise the bar for all future hosts with our Cultural Festival 100 days before the race, two stunning stages and a legacy that leaves a cycling imprint on the county which lasts for generations.
“It was an honour to be able to represent Yorkshire at the presentation today and to showcase our proud county. Yorkshire’s will be the greatest Grand Départ in the history of the Tour de France.
“The Grand Départ will put Yorkshire on the map as a destination capable of hosting world class events in a world class location, providing a springboard to greater things. We are excited, we are proud and we are ready to welcome the world.”
Yorkshire’s delegation at the Tour Presentation included Dean and Russell Downing, Brian Robinson, Barry Hoban and ten Leeds schoolchildren dressed in yellow t-shirts which spelled out ‘Yorkshire’.
The first stage, which could see sprint king Mark Cavendish claim the yellow jersey in Harrogate – his mother’s home town – will depart from Leeds on Saturday July 5, 2014.
Riders will head north to Harewood before following a route through the Yorkshire Dales via Ilkley and Skipton reaching as far north as Reeth with some minor peaks to negotiate in the picturesque national park.
The peloton will then return south on the very flat roads via Leyburn, Middleham, Masham, West Tanfield and Ripon before the fast men are set compete for the stage and the fabled jersey in Harrogate.
After the relatively flat first stage however, some early gaps could form in the general classification on the second day with nine climbs to negotiate en route from York to Sheffield.
Riders will head west out of the historic city, through Knaresbrough to Addingham before heading south through the Pennines towards the historic county border via the picturesque Hebden Bridge.
They must negotiate England’s longest continuous gradient at Cragg Vale before heading to the Peak District via Huddersfield.
Holme Moss, one of the country’s most iconic climbs, awaits the riders before they enter north Sheffield, with the final stretch of the route still to be decided.
Tour director Christian Prudhomme said: “We are excited to take Le Tour back to Britain again.
“I know the Grand Départ in Yorkshire will be visually stunning and technically challenging and the third stage from the cycling city of Cambridge to the historic heart of London will provide a fitting finale.
“The British cycling fans are passionate people and I am sure they will line the routes of the three stages cheering the teams and riders all the way from Yorkshire to London, providing an unforgettable start to the 2014 Tour.”
For more details of the opening two stages visit www.letouryorkshire.com.