THE world’s most famous cycling race is coming to the region in 2014, it has today been announced.
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.
Christian 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 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.
County Councillor John Weighell, the Leader of North Yorkshire County Council, said: “North Yorkshire County Council, as one of the sponsors of the bid, is absolutely delighted that the organisers of the Tour de France have agreed to include Yorkshire in the 2014 event.
“As one of the world’s premier sporting events, the Tour de France brings enormous international exposure and interest in its wake, and the inclusion of Yorkshire can only be excellent news for the economy of North Yorkshire, and its hugely important tourism businesses.”