Tour de France 2014 Leeds Grand Départ details announced

Caption: The 2014 Tour de France will start in front of the iconic Leeds Town Hall

Details as to the route the Tour de France will take when the world’s largest annual sporting event begins in Leeds in 2014 have been announced today.

At a press conference held in Paris this morning, race organisers Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) and dignitaries of the successful Leeds and Yorkshire bid revealed further information about the Grand Départ of the legendary cycle race when it begins in the county in July 2014.

A similar press conference and celebration event will be held at Leeds Town Hall later today (Thursday), where details of the first two stages to be held in Yorkshire will be announced before the race heads for Cambridge and London for stage three, the final day of the three the race will be in the UK.

The Leeds element forms part of the regional bid led by Welcome to Yorkshire in partnership with local authorities and regional bodies which last month was confirmed as the winning bidder to host the Grand Départ.

The world’s leading riders will line up in front of Leeds Town Hall on Saturday 5 July 2014 for the start of the first stage of the 2014 Tour de France. The opening stage will cover 120 miles and travel through Harewood, Otley and Ilkley before heading through the Yorkshire Dales and finishing in Harrogate.

The second stage begins in York, and will be a hilly 125-mile test featuring the challenging climb of Holme Moss before finishing in Sheffield. Day three sees Le Tour head south, starting in Cambridge and heading to London passing the London 2012 Olympic Park with the stage finish on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace.

It is estimated that 98 per cent of the population of Yorkshire will be within an hour of the route during its two days in the county, with the economic benefit expected to be in excess of £100m.

When the race began in London before heading for a stage through Kent in 2007, the event generated an estimated £88million of economic benefit to the two areas, attracted over three million spectators and publicity valued at £35m with more than 20,000 pieces of media coverage being produced by the world’s media covering the race.

As host city for the Grand Départ, Leeds will be the focal point of attention in the days leading up to the start with the competing teams being presented to the public, while there will also be cycle shows, displays, market stalls, competitions and a range of cultural events in celebration of Le Tour’s arrival.

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield said:

“As a city we are absolutely thrilled to be hosting the start of the world’s largest annual sporting event in 2014, and speaking personally as an avid fan of the Tour de France and keen cyclist for over 25 years, I am incredibly proud and excited that Leeds has been given the honour of starting this amazing and legendary race.

“Together with Welcome to Yorkshire and our partners across the county, a tremendous amount of work has gone into winning the bid for Leeds to host the Grand Départ and for the county of Yorkshire to be showcased to a huge global audience, so I’d like to say thank you to everyone involved and also to the race organisers Amaury Sport Organisation for entrusting us with starting the greatest event in cycling.

“The Grand Départ is going to be a real celebration for everyone in the city and our very special guests from all over the globe to enjoy, highlighting the best that Leeds and Yorkshire has to offer for a few days that none of us will ever forget.”

Tour de France Director Christian Prudhomme said:

“Yorkshire is a region of outstanding beauty, with breathtaking landscapes whose terrains offer to all kind of riders the opportunity to express themselves. When we build the route of Le Tour, we look at both sporting aspects and the beauty of the route. I knew Yorkshire was a nice region but I didn’t imagine it corresponded so well to what we need for a perfect Grand Départ.

“We wanted two different stages to begin with, two different challenges for the riders. The first stage, the one that will gives the first Yellow Jersey, might be perfect for sprinters, the second however will be probably be more suited to attackers and climbers, and the repetition of the hills in the last part, like in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, will definitely be worth seeing.”

Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire Gary Verity said:

“The routes of the Grand Départ will showcase some of Yorkshire’s iconic cycling climbs and the county’s stunning land and cityscapes. The peloton will be technically tested as they tackle some challenging terrain in what are sure to be two exhilarating days of racing in the county. The British public’s response since the news broke that the 2014 Grand Départ would be hosted in Yorkshire has been overwhelming and I am sure the route announcements today will encourage even more people to come to the county to experience for themselves the phenomenon that is Le Tour.”

For more information visit www.yorkshire.com/le-tour-yorkshire or follow @letouryorkshire on Twitter.


For media enquiries please contact:

Roger Boyde, ,

Leeds City Council press office,

Tel 0113 247 5472

Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk