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Grand Départ in Yorkshire for 2014

Yorkshire, land of inspiration…

© A.S.O. © A.S.O. © A.S.O. © A.S.O.

The atmosphere and beauty of the County of Yorkshire gives a constant inspiration to travel. Among the native heroes of the area is Captain James Cook, one of the explorers who gave a new face to the world by discovering New-Zealand, New Caledonia and the Isles of Hawaï. Crossing the seas will be a lot more peaceful for the riders of the Tour who will also discover new lands on the occasion of this twentieth Grand Départ outside of the French borders. Through a Tour of Yorkshire, during two stages, the pack will have a taste of what this sensational territory has to offer: stunningly pure nature once in the Yorkshire Dales, a constantly renewed vitality in the heart of the cities that has marked the history of the country. The Yorkshire atmosphere takes the visitor back into time at the heart of the novels written by the Brontë sisters that might even inspire some riders as they cross through the village of Haworth.

The cities of Leeds and Sheffield, two major places of the industrial development during the 19th century, will play a central role in the Tour’s stay in Yorkshire. Their history in sports often put them in the limelight thanks to the football clubs of both cities that have conquered a total of eight league titles. While in far lower divisions, Sheffield FC will remain forever the first football club in the world… created back in 1857! In terms of cycling, destiny seems to have struck. Brian Robinson first British stage winner on the Tour and Barry Hoban who won eight others are both from Yorkshire. Time has come to now turn to 2014.

Cycling the British way: tradition and … vision

© A.S.O. © A.S.O. © A.S.O. © A.S.O. - Mark Cavendish © A.S.O. - Bradley Wiggins © A.S.O. - Chris Froome

In the Tour de France album, British cycling was occasionally represented by valorous pioneers. The likes of Robinson, Simpson and Hoban founded a cycling history that Cavendish, Wiggins and Froome built on from, in a modern way.

Looking closely, the roots of British cycling go far back. The first cycling race, between Paris and Saint-Cloud in 1868, was won by an English expatriate called James Moore! On the other side of the Channel, a time-trialling tradition rapidly conquered riders. The fever of beating records even attracted unknown cyclists who then had to face a long period when road races were forbidden.

In such a context, seeing Bill Burl and Charles Holland show up at the start of the 1937 Tour was almost heroic. Later, the path set by the first ever Brit Tour stage winner, Brian Robinson was used in a tragic way by Tom Simpson who died racing on the sides of the Mont Ventoux in 1967. The following day, his compatriot, Barry Hoban won the stage in Sète as a tribute to his room mate.

Based on the heritage of those glorious old timers, the British cycling school went even further. On the day of his first appearance on the Tour in 1994, Chris Boardman claimed the prologue. In the same outstanding fashion, David Millar captured the first Yellow Jersey of 2000. The Scotsman was to become the witness and even one of the indirect actors of the British success story.

With his 25 stage wins, Mark Cavendish never forgets to insist that his first meeting with David Millar on the Isle of Man played a decisive role in the start to his career. In the same way, the 2011 World Champion probably inspired many, exactly like Bradley Wiggins who became a Tour hero at an older age.

The two-time individual pursuit Olympic Champion, fourth of the Tour in 2009 owes a lot of his glory to Dave Brailsford and the efficiency of the Sky project. Guided by the idea of applying to road cycling the same methods that made track riders so successful, the head and brain of the team honoured his bet by putting one of his men on the highest step of the podium. In 2012, Bradley Wiggins accomplished a dream designed by Brailsford. Doing so Sir Brad showed the way to his team mate Chris Froome who applied the Sky method with even more temperament in 2013. Her majesty’s men have conquered the summits!

A few references

  • 1937: Bill Burl and Charles Holland first competitors on the event
  • 1958: Brian Robinson first British stage winner
  • 1962: Tom Simpson first Yellow Jersey, for one day
  • 1978: Barry Hoban finishes his career on the Tour after winning 8 stages
  • 1984: Robert Millar wins the Polka-Dot Jersey
  • 1994: Chris Boardman wins the prologue in Lille and establishes a record that still stands at an average speed of 55.152 km/h
  • 2008: Mark Cavendish wins his first Tour stage
  • 2012: Bradley Wiggins becomes the first British winner of the Tour
  • 2013: Chris Froome adds his name to the winner’s list a year afterhis compatriot.

Chief Executive, Welcome to Yorkshire

Proud and delighted

Gary Verity, Chief Executive Welcome to Yorkshire and Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France © A.S.O. Leeds © A.S.O. Harrogate © A.S.O. York © A.S.O. Sheffield © A.S.O. Cambridge © A.S.O. Londres © A.S.O.

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

Brian Robinson © A.S.O. Tom Simpson © A.S.O. Barry Hoban © A.S.O. Mark Cavendish © A.S.O. Christopher Froome © A.S.O. Bradley Wiggins © A.S.O.

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.

Leeds Arena © A.S.O.

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

Time difference

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

Parcours général
Etape 1

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.

Etape 2

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.

Etape 3

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.

Jersey wearers after the stage 9

Classifications after the stage 9

Sponsorship and Environment

Since its creation, Amaury Sport Organisation has been committed to various charity work. Read more

Amaury Sport Organisation is engaged in an integration of the environment in the organization of races approach. Read more

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Will the three stages in the Vosges determine the overall winner?

  • Yes, they’ll confirm Nibali’s domination9.61%
  • No, the real fight will happen in the Alps47.68%
  • No, Contador will win the Tour in the Pyrenees30.74%
  • No, Porte will beat them all in the time trial11.97%
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