Grand Départ in Yorkshire for 2014
Chief Executive, Welcome to Yorkshire
Proud and delighted
The people of Yorkshire are proud and delighted to welcome the world’s greatest cycle race to one of the most beautiful parts of the United Kingdom.
We are honoured to have been chosen to stage the Grand Départ of the 2014 Tour de France and we are confi dent that the riders will fi nd our spectacular scenery both challenging and exhilarating.
Their route will take them through some of our great and historic cities, including the Roman walled city of York, Leeds - the UK’s second biggest fi nancial centre, the stunning cathedral city of Ripon, and Sheffi eld, which is fast becoming known as one of Europe’s great sporting cities. They’ll wind through the glorious Yorkshire Dales National Park into the quintessential English market town of Harrogate before experiencing the dramatic rise and fall of the Pennines around Brontë country. We believe they will fi nd the route simply breathtaking.
Yorkshire and cycling go hand-in-hand. The county is widely regarded as one of the spiritual heartlands of UK cycling producing trailblazing talent like Brian Robinson, the fi rst British rider to win a stage of the Tour de France, Barry Hoban a winner of 8 stages of the Tour de France and Malcolm Elliott the fi rst British rider to win a Grand Tour points jersey. Its landscape continues to inspire a new generation of star cyclists today, but it’s for the warmth of our welcome that the people of Yorkshire are best known.
We love to meet new people and to make them feel at home in the place which has the nickname of God’s Own County. We know that the millions of Yorkshire men, women and children who turn out to cheer on the riders as they pass through our city streets and country lanes will give the Tour de France the warmest welcome ever.
...And there is no doubt that this enthusiasm will go from strength to strength during the third part of the Tour’s time in Britain. This stage three will link up two iconic cities: Cambridge, the renowned university town, and London, the capital, the site of a memorable Grand Départ in 2007 and of course the venue for the fantastic Olympic Games in 2012.
Director of the Tour de France
Quality and enthusiasm guaranteed
Unforgettable. That’s the word that springs to mind when I think about the Grand Départ of the Tour de France in London back in 2007, the first ever organised in Great Britain.
We hope and trust that the 2014 Grand Départ will be just as spectacular: this is my wish, and I don’t think I need to worry, as it seems very likely to come true given how impressed we were with the passion and desire of our friends from Yorkshire ever since we fi rst met.
At that time, we were considering a return to the UK for the Tour in 2016- 2017. That was before British cycling’s golden summer. Bradley Wiggins’ historic victory in the Tour de France combined with the phenomenal success of the cycling events during the Olympic Games convinced us that we should come back earlier and, to tell the truth, as quickly as possible.
But if Yorkshire has earned the right to welcome the Tour, it only has itself to thank. Thanks to the quality of the facilities, infrastructure and sites it can offer us. Thanks to the stunning landscape, which will be introduced to the whole world as they follow the race on TV, in all fi ve continents. Thanks to its roads, which offer a variety of terrains, perfect for sprinters as well as puncheurs. Thanks to its cycling heritage, the achievements of pioneers, led by Brian Robinson, since the late 1950s. Thanks to the choice of a modern-day champion, who is still a contender, Mark Cavendish, as ambassador, refl ecting a thriving, unashamedly forward-thinking discipline.
We are already foreseeing a huge event with massive popular support: in Leeds, where the Tour will begin, in Harrogate, in York, in Sheffi eld and throughout the region. And the enthusiasm is bound to continue further south, in the third stage that will take the cyclists from the prestigious city of Cambridge to London, the capital.
Seven years on, the Tour will return to The Mall for its royal arrival in front of Buckingham Palace. And after a week of passion and three crucial stages, there will only be one word in our minds: unforgettable.
Wiggins and Cavendish of course, but let’s not forget Robinson as well
Sunday 22nd July 2012, a day to remember. God Save the Queen rings out down the Champs-Élysées to celebrate the first win by a British cyclist in the Tour de France. Bradley Wiggins in the yellow jersey is even sharing the podium with one of his compatriots, his teammate Christopher Froome who finished in second place. Fifty years earlier, in 1962, the first cyclist from the UK to wear that famous item of clothing was called Tom Simpson, a man who would later be imitated by Chris Boardman, Sean Yates and David Millar.
When it comes to the 51 stage wins by Brits, it is without a doubt Mark Cavendish who takes the lion’s share, with 23, followed by Barry Hoban (8), David Millar (4), Michael Wright, Robert Millar and Chris Boardman (3), Bradley Wiggins (2), Sean Yates, Maximilian Sciandri and Christopher Froome (1). And if we want to know who led the way by being the first to win two stages, first in 1958 and then in 1959, it was Brian Robinson who, like Hoban, was from Yorkshire.
Yorkshire - going from strength to strength
Yorkshire is perhaps best known around the world for the wild and windy moors made famous by the nineteenth century novels of the Bronte sisters, but modern day Yorkshire is making its name for much more than that.
Just two hours north of London by train we are a country within a country - with seven great cities, each with a distinctive character, and each situated within minutes of amazing countryside - the rolling Yorkshire Dales, the breathtaking North York Moors, the Pennine hills, and our impressive North Sea coastline. Leeds is a bustling centre for financial services, while its neighbour Bradford has the distinction of being a UNESCO city of film. The port of Hull in the east is a key trade route and a gateway to visitors from the rest of Europe.
Recent years have seen tourism in Yorkshire grow faster than anywhere else in the UK. Visitors come to enjoy our history and heritage in places like York or our great country houses and castles, and we are becoming an internationally renowned centre for sculpture, with the Hepworth Gallery at Wakefield, the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Sport is another magnet bringing new visitors. Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre is already seen worldwide as the home of snooker and recent years have seen international diving, fencing, figure skating and mountain biking in Yorkshire. The Grand Départ will once again focus the eyes of the world on this thriving and beautiful part of the UK.
After its time in Yorkshire, the Tour de France peloton will be heading for Cambridge, the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire. Internationally renowned for its university, which dates back to the 13th century, with its thirty-one colleges, it is now also at the heart of a cluster of cuttingedge high-tech companies, nicknamed the Silicon Fen as a nod to California’s Silicon Valley.
As for London, the British capital hardly needs any introduction. It is one of the world’s leading cities, thanks in no small part to its economic power and cultural reputation. Its museums and iconic monuments include the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace, which pull in more than twenty-five million tourists every year.
In the north-east of England, where it is the biggest historic county, Yorkshire covers some 15,000 km2 and is subdivided into four counties: East, North, West and South.
It is home to five million people, 752,000 of whom live in Leeds, the area’s biggest city.
Harrogate has 73,000 inhabitants, York has 198,000 and Sheffield has 555,000.
For its part, Cambridge, the administrative centre of the county, has 110,000 inhabitants.
As for London, the capital of the United Kingdom has some three million inhabitants, or seven million for Greater London.
By plane : Leeds Bradford airport 15km from the city centre or Manchester airport, 70km away
By train : from Paris to London by Eurostar. Regular trains between London and Yorkshire’s main cities
By road : 780km from Paris to Leeds by motorway
12h00 in the United Kingdom = 13h00 in France
Dates for your diary
Wednesday 2nd July: opening of the reception office and press centre in Wellington Place
Thursday 3rd July: presentation of the 2014 Tour de France teams at Leeds Arena
Saturday 5th July: first stage, Leeds Harrogate, 190 km
Sunday 6th July: second stage, York Sheffield, 200 km
Monday 7th July: third stage, Cambridge London, 170 km
Leeds / Harrogate
The 101st running of the Tour de France will begin outside the 19th century Town Hall in the heart of historic Leeds. From the steps of the concert venue the riders will head northwest out of the city centre and into the Yorkshire countryside. They will pass Harewood House, home of the Lascelles family for over 250 years, before they head to Skipton, gateway to the spectacular Yorkshire Dales National Park. Up to this point the route is fairly fl at, but once they enter the iconic Dales the terrain gets steeper as the riders race a semi-circular route across the contours of the valleys. They leave at the north east edge of the National Park sweeping southeast through Leyburn and the cathedral city of Ripon, rejoining the flat roads to the pretty spa town of Harrogate. It is here at the end of a long straight line fi nish that we will discover who will be the fi rst rider to wear the famous yellow jersey of the 2014 Tour de France.
York / Sheffield
A stunning walled city brimming with history, York is the venue for the start of stage two. After starting at Clifford’s Tower the peloton will head west passing through Harrogate once again before turning south and heading to Huddersfield via Haworth, home of literary sisters, the Brontës. From here the cyclists will be able to stretch their legs on a number of steep sections before they arrive at the gateway to another National Park, the Peak District, on the edge of the Pennines. The slopes start to get steeper here especially the stretch leading to Holme Moss, renowned as one of the toughest climbs in the whole of Great Britain. There are still a few hills to cross before the cyclists arrive in the UK’s first city of sport Sheffield. The last hill climb of the day is less than five kilometres from the finish in the northeast of the city next to the Don Valley Stadium.
Cambridge / Londres
The famous university city provides the stunning setting for the beginning of the third chapter of the Grand Départ. This stage is mainly fl at and will take the cyclists south on the roads of Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Essex. The race arrives in Greater London from the northeast, via Epping Forest. Once it has passed the Olympic Park, it will head for the centre of the British capital for its fi nale against a background of picture postcard scenes including the Thames, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Big Ben, the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey… As with the prologue of the Tour de France in 2007 and the 2012 Olympic cycle road races, the final stretch will take the competitors through St James’s Park, in front of Buckingham Palace for a spectacular fi nish on The Mall.
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