2014 Tour de France to start in Yorkshire
Two stages of the Tour de France 2014 are to take place in the county of Yorkshire, Northern England, on July 5 and 6, before a third stage is set to be hosted in London.
The Grand Tour will begin in Leeds before heading to the capital of the United Kingdom, which previously staged the Grand Depart in the 2007 edition of the Tour de France.
Earlier today Tour de France organizer A.S.O. issued a press statement reading "The organizers of the Tour de France are pleased to announce that the Grand Depart of the Tour de France 2014 will take place in the United Kingdom in the county of Yorkshire, before heading to London for a stage finish.
"After an outstanding 2012 for British cycling, marked by the historical victory of Bradley Wiggins on the Tour de France, the United Kingdom will again hold pride of place in 2014.
"The Grand Depart of the 101st edition of the Tour will take place on July 5 in Leeds in the county of Yorkshire."
"Seven years after the Grand Depart of the Tour de France 2007 and two years after the latest Olympic Games, London will host the last stage on British soil, before the peloton returns to mainland Europe."
Commenting on the decision to feature Yorkshire and London in the 2014 edition of the Tour de France, British Cycling President Brian Cookson told Roadcycling.com "Like every other cycling fan, I am thrilled the world's biggest bike race is coming back to this country. The huge numbers who turned out to support the 2007 Tour de France Grand Depart and the 2012 Olympic road races in London show the passion we have for cycling."
"I'm sure Yorkshire will give the 2014 Tour de France a welcome which will stand out in the race's rich history."
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said the Tour organizer has long been eager to see the Tour return to the United Kingdom, but the return comes sooner than planned because of Bradley Wiggins' Tour victory and the great success of the Olympic cycling events in London earlier this year.
"Since the resounding success of the Grand Depart in London in 2007, we were very keen to return to the United Kingdom. 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."
According to Prudhomme the nature and landscape settings have also played a major part in the selection of the start location for the 2014 Tour de France. "Yorkshire is a region of outstanding beauty, with breathtaking landscapes whose terrains offer both sprinters and attackers the opportunity to express themselves," Prudhomme explained to Roadcycling.com.
"We have encountered a phenomenal desire from the Yorkshire team to welcome the Tour de France and have no doubt that passion and support will be particularly evident for the Grand Depart of the Tour de France 2014."