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article image2014 Tour de France will start in Yorkshire, UK

By Robert Myles     Dec 16, 2012 in Sports
Leeds - The organisers of the annual Tour de France cycle race have announced that the 2014 Tour de France, the 101st in the series, will start in the county of Yorkshire in the north of England.
In an announcement on the Tour de France website, the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), who currently organise the Tour de France, have said in 2014, the Grand Départ – the start of the annual multi-stage Tour de France – will be hosted by Yorkshire in the north of England.
After the Grand Départ, which the city of Leeds is expected to host, the cyclists, the peloton, will head south with a first stage finish planned for London. London is also likely to host a stage before cyclists head over to the European mainland for the remainder of the world's premiere cycling event. Details of the stages are expected to be announced in Leeds and Paris next January 17 reports France 24.
2014 will be the fourth time that England has hosted Tour de France stages. The Tour de France has previously visited the UK in 1974, 1994 and 2007. On previous occasions the stages all took place in the south of England not far from the English Channel and the 2014 Tour de France will be the farthest north the race has ever travelled in the UK.
In their announcement, the ASO acknowledged that 2012 had been a great year for British cyclists, "After an outstanding 2012 for British cycling, marked by the historical victory of Bradley Wiggins on the Tour de France, the United Kingdom will again hold pride of place in 2014. Seven years after the Grand Depart of the Tour de France 2007 and two years after the latest Olympic Games, London will host the last stage on British soil, before the pack returns to mainland Europe."
32 year old Wiggins certainly raised the profile of cycling in the UK with his Tour de France victory but just a few weeks later at the London 2012 Olympics, he also won the time-trial Olympic title. Wiggins Olympic victory at the London games was one of 12 cycling medals collected by the Great Britain Olympic cyclists, eight of them gold.
During the London Olympics, the cycling road race drew hundreds of thousands of spectators along the route and the UK’s new found enthusiasm for cycling has clearly not been lost on the Tour de France organisers. USA Today quotes Christian Prudhomme, Tour de France Director as saying, “Bradley Wiggins’ historical victory last July and the enormous crowds that followed the cycling events in the streets of London during the Olympic Games encouraged us to go back earlier than we had initially planned.”
Gary Verity, chief executive of the local tourist agency Welcome to Yorkshire that had fronted Yorkshire’s bid told the Financial Times, “I am honoured and humbled. When we first started talking about it some people thought I was crackers.”
The decision to award the first stage of the 2014 Tour de France to Yorkshire was also welcomed by UK Prime Minister David Cameron who tweeted:
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Twitter feed David Cameron Official
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