Yorkshire to host the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ
Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, the agency behind the county’s bid, said: "Today is a proud day for everyone involved in the bid and the county as a whole. We are honoured that the race organisers, the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), have selected Yorkshire to be the host location of the 2014 Grand Départ.
“It will mean less than two years after hosting the Olympics the British public can look forward to another of the world’s biggest sporting events coming to the country, and I am in no doubt they will come to Yorkshire in their millions, lining the length and breadth of the route to cheer on the champions of world cycling and our home grown British heroes.
“Yorkshire is a passionate county of proud people and I am sure they will guarantee that their Grand Départ raises the bar in terms of expectations for all future hosts to come.”
The county will host the first two days racing on the 5th and 6th July before the Tour moves south for a third stage in southern England, with a finish in London. The host city of the Grand Départ will be Leeds which will host a festival of cycling and the arts to coincide with the arrival of the Tour.
Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council added: “We are honoured that Leeds has been chosen to be the host city of the 2014 Grand Départ. Leeds has a proud racing and riding history so it will be wonderful to welcome the biggest cycle race of them all to the heart of our vibrant city centre, inspire a new generation of Yorkshire cyclists to compete on the world stage and leave a lasting cycling legacy for the city.”
Christian Prudhomme, Tour de France Director, said: “Since the resounding success of the Grand Départ in London in 2007, we were very keen to return to the United Kingdom. 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. Yorkshire is a region of outstanding beauty, with breathtaking landscapes whose terrains offer both sprinters and attackers the opportunity to express themselves. We have encountered a phenomenal desire from the Yorkshire team to welcome the Tour de France and have no doubt that passion and support will be particularly evident for the Grand Départ of the Tour de France 2014.”
The county's bid has the high profile support of former world champion and Tour de France sprint star Mark Cavendish, Team Sky’s Ben Swift and Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy as well as former Tour legends from the county, Brian Robinson - the first Briton to win a stage of the Tour de France in 1958 - Barry Hoban - winner of eight stages of Le Tour - and one of Britain’s most successful and best loved riders, Malcolm Elliott the first British rider to win a points jersey in a Grand Tour.
The successful bid has been supported within the county by local authorities including Kirklees, Calderdale, North Yorkshire County Council, Bradford, Wakefield, York and Leeds City Council, Leeds and Partners and Leeds City Region Partnership. The bid also has full cross-party political support and "buy-in" from the business community.
The public campaign to ‘Back le Bid’ resulted in over 170,000 pledges of support to bring the Tour de France to Yorkshire and high profile backing from the likes of the French President, François Hollande.
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[News item based on press release supplied by Welcome to Yorkshire, posted December 2012.]