This is the first time Leeds is hosting Le Tour de France’s ‘Grand Depart’, and this is also the first time Le Tour will reach the north of England, compared to other visits to the UK when it had visited only the south.
Last time the tour, an annual bicycle race held in France, visited England was in 2007. The first stage of the bicycle tour will be held on July 5 and 6, 2014, and then the tour moves south for the next British stage, in London.
The Tour de France is viewed annually by around two billion people live on television, and the event will bring in a lot of bike enthusiasts to the beautiful and scenic environment of West Yorkshire, providing a boost to the tourism industry of the county.
British cyclists have recently tasted success in the event, with Bradley Wiggins being the first British rider to win Le Tour in 2012.
A statement by Welcome to Yorkshire, the official visiting guide to Yorkshire, said, ‘Yorkshire is rightly proud to be able to say it will host the Tour de France. The county is a heartland of the sport and over the next few pages we celebrate Yorkshire’s Grand Depart, Yorkshire’s cycling champions, the county’s iconic cycling landscapes and hopefully inspire more people to consider going uphill and down dale on two wheels in future.’
Gary Verity, the chief executive officer of Welcome to Yorkshire, 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 have selected Yorkshire to be the host location of the 2014 Grand Depart.’