Published: 17 January 2013
Report: Scott Hobro
Details of the three opening stages of the 2014 Tour de France which will take place in the UK have been revealed.
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The Grand Depart is a 190km stage from Leeds ending in Harrogate on 5 July 2014 with the 200km stage two also taking place in Yorkshire on the following day - from York to Sheffield - before the race visits London.
Stage three makes the journey from the University of Cambridge to The Mall, which hosted the finale of the London Olympic road race, visiting Epping Park and the Olympic Park en route.
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. The Grand Départ of the Tour de France 2007 in London, the first ever organised in the United Kingdom, will remain unforgettable. We are very glad to return, seven years after, to this magnificent city.”
Yorkshire was confirmed as the host of the Grand Depart on 14 December last year, bringing Le Tour back to Britain for the first time since 2007 when London staged the start of the race.
The Grand Depart will see riders pass through Harewood, Otley, Ilkley, Skipton, Kettlewell, Aysgarth, Hawes, Reeth, Leyburn and Ripon on the journey to Harrogate.
Stage two will take in more of Yorkshire including Knaresborough, Silsden, Keighley, Haworth, Hebden Bridge, Elland, Huddersfield and Holmfirth.
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”.
In 2012 Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins became the first Briton to win the Tour de France with Prudhomme adding that his victory played a role in the Tour returning to the UK.
"Since the resounding success of the Grand Depart in London in 2007, we were very keen to return to the United Kingdom," he said.
"Bradley Wiggins' historical victory last July and the enormous crowds that followed the cycling events in the streets of London during the Olympic Games encouraged us to go back earlier than we had initially planned."