Tour de France 2014: The Grand Départ
The worlds greatest cycling race, the Tour de France will start in the UK for 2014 – but this time it will visit the beautiful county of Yorkshire.
It is the first time Le Tour has visited the north of England having previously only made visits to the south coast and London. The first two stages will take in the county’s rolling countryside – before the race moves further south to Cambridge and offering a spectacular UK finale in the country’s capital.
Riders will line up for the Grand Depart in Leeds and despite two short hills mid-way through the stage, a sprint finish is expected in the historic town of Harrogate.
The route travels north through Harewood and makes a sharp turn west, through the Yorkshire Dales. The riders will cycle through Reeth, which is just 15 miles from Barnard Castle Club Site.
The route will then turn south and riders will enjoy a downhill ride through the small towns of Leyburn and Middleham. Lead-out trains will be in full flow as the riders cycle on the flat roads through Masham, West Tanfield, Ripon and past Boroughbride Club Site.
The first rider to cross the line in Harrogate will pull on the first coveted yellow jersey for 2014.
The second stage kicks off in York, which is just eight miles from Sherriff Hutton Club Site. This stage is much tougher with 1,400 metres of climbing in the last 50 miles before a flat finish in Sheffield.
Riders will hit their first sizeable peak at 433m, just before Hebden Bridge. Continuing further south past Halifax and Huddersfield, the route will hit its highest point, just shy of 500m. The riders will turn down through the Peak District National Park, close to Crowden Club Site before going downhill towards the steel city of Sheffield.
The final UK stage of Le Tour will start in the popular university city of Cambridge. The 159km route will start in the centre of Cambridge and pass within 200m of Cambridge Club Site.
Riders will continue south through Essex, past Braintree, Chelmsford and both Kelvedon Hatch Club Site and Hertford Club Site before heading into London for what is expected to be a tantalising UK race finale.