News: Yorkshire to host the 2014 Tour de France

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Yorkshire has beaten worldwide competition to bring the world’s largest annual sporting event – the Tour de France – to the county.

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Yorkshire will host the Grand Départ, the huge and prestigious opening few days racing, of the 2014 event, bringing the iconic race to the north of England for the first time. Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, the agency behind the county’s bid, said: “Today is a proud day for everyone involved in the bid and the county as a whole. We are honoured that the race organisers, the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), have selected Yorkshire to be the host location of the 2014 Grand Départ.


“It will mean less than two years after hosting the Olympics the British public can look forward to another of the world’s biggest sporting events coming to the country, and I am in no doubt they will come to Yorkshire in their millions, lining the length and breadth of the route to cheer on the champions of world cycling and our home grown British heroes.

“Yorkshire is a passionate county of proud people and I am sure they will guarantee that their Grand Départ raises the bar in terms of expectations for all future hosts to come.” The county will host the first two days racing on the 5th and 6th July before the Tour moves south for a third stage in southern England, with a finish in London. The host city of the Grand Départ will be Leeds which will host a festival of cycling and the arts to coincide with the arrival of the Tour.

A rider who may well in that Tour de France, Ben Swift of Team Sky told his team’s website “I’m over the moon that the world’s biggest bike race is coming to Yorkshire, and until the ‘Back le Bid’ initiative was launched, I never dreamed the Tour would ever start in my home county. It’s going to be amazing for the region, a massive honour, and I’m sure everyone in Britain is going to embrace this now.”


“You only have to see the crowds that turned out in London in 2007 when the Tour started there, and cycling has boomed in the country since then. The crowds at the Olympics road races were absolutely phenomenal and I’m sure that will be the case again in 2014.”

The Rotherham (South Yorkshire) rider added “This news is going to take cycling to another level in the UK, inspire thousands more people, and hopefully we’ll play a key role in that, just as we have done over the last three years. Yorkshire has got lots of places that are absolutely perfect for cycling and it would be one of the highlights of my career if I was able to take part in the 2014 Tour. I’m sure all my friends and family would be out there on the roads watching me, but I’ve got a lot of work to do between now and then to give myself the best chance of selection.”

“With the strength of the squad we have at Team Sky, it’s always a massive challenge to be picked for the Tour team, but I’ll definitely be trying to do that and my motivation couldn’t be higher. Chances like this don’t come around very often. Ben’s first Tour de France appearance came in 2011 and after battling his way around a punishing parcours, the then-23 year old infiltrated a breakaway on the final day of action which saw him lead the peloton onto the fabled Champs Elysees. “That memory will be with me for years,” he added. “The noise was deafening and the massive crowds cheering us on gave us a real lift. I can’t wait to sample that feeling again in Yorkshire if I am selected and hopefully I can do the team and everyone proud.”

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council added: “We are honoured that Leeds has been chosen to be the host city of the 2014 Grand Départ. Leeds has a proud racing and riding history so it will be wonderful to welcome the biggest cycle race of them all to the heart of our vibrant city centre, inspire a new generation of Yorkshire cyclists to compete on the world stage and leave a lasting cycling legacy for the city.”

hristian Prudhomme, Tour de France Director, said: “Since the resounding success of the Grand Départ 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. 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 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 Départ of the Tour de France 2014.”

The county’s bid has the high profile support of former world champion and Tour de France sprint star Mark Cavendish, Team Sky’s Ben Swift and Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy as well as former Tour legends from the county, Brian Robinson – the first Briton to win a stage of the Tour de France in 1958 – Barry Hoban – winner of eight stages of Le Tour – and one of Britain’s most successful and best loved riders, Malcolm Elliott the first British rider to win a points jersey in a Grand Tour.

The successful bid has been supported within the county by local authorities including Kirklees, Calderdale, North Yorkshire County Council, Bradford, Wakefield, York and Leeds City Council, Leeds and Partners and Leeds City Region Partnership. The bid also has full cross-party political support and buy-in from the business community.

The public campaign to ‘Back le Bid’ resulted in over 170,000 pledges of support to bring the Tour de France to Yorkshire and high profile backing from the likes of the French President, François Hollande.

ASO Press Release
Tour de France 2014: Grand Départ in Yorkshire, London to host a stage

The organisers of the Tour de France are pleased to announce that the Grand Départ 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 Départ of the 101st edition of the Tour will take place on 5th July in Leeds in the county of Yorkshire.

Seven years after the Grand Départ 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 pack returns to mainland Europe. The details of this Grand Départ and the stages it will include will be revealed at a press conference that will take place on Thursday 17th January 2013, in two phases, in both Leeds and Paris.



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