With just over a week left until the world’s best cyclists head to Leeds for the commencement of the biggest event in the cycling calendar, the UK and the streets of Yorkshire in particular have been whipped into a Tour frenzy. With spectators expected to travel from all corners of the UK to see the 2014 Grand Depart, it’s time to start planning your trip, if you want to see British yellow jersey contender Chris Froome launch his bid for back to back successes in the French sportive.
The Tour de France in Leeds
It might seem confusing that the Tour de France is commencing its 2014 run outside of the host country, however it’s a standard practice with the competition that every two years ‘Le Tour’ launches in a nearby European location. After hard work from Welcome to Yorkshire, and all the relevant authorities within the Yorkshire area, the big launch takes place on Thursday 3rd July at Leeds Arena, with racing commencing on Saturday 5th . Racing between Leeds and Harrogate on day one, the 190km ride will see the peloton leave from The Headrow stating line, before heading along city streets and heading out of the centre and through to other areas of West Yorkshire. The vast open countryside of ‘gods own country’ will host the first two days of cycling’s flagship event, with day two boasting a 201km route from York to Sheffield. Day three sees the event head down south to Cambridge and London on day three, before then shifting back across the Channel for the rest of the 23 day race.
It’s worth watching because
The Tour de France is one of professional cycling’s three Grand Tour events, and is arguably the one held in the highest regard within the world of cycling. The highly competitive field includes the biggest names in the sport. With previous winners Cadel Evans, Alberto Contador and Chris Froome all expected to compete.
When is it?
The tour itself runs from 5 to the 27 of July, with the first day being a 190km mile flat stage between Leeds and Harrogate, and the second day stepping up the challenge with a 201km hill stage between York and Sheffield. After the brief fling with Yorkshire, riders head down to Cambridge for a 155km run through to London before returning home to French soil. With the remainder of the tour passing through landmark French cities such as Lille, Ypres, Nancy, Saint-Etienne and Carcassonne, beautiful French architecture and countryside will take centre stage on our television screens, as we’re reduced to watching the remainder of the event from the living room.
Head to Leeds
With the eyes of the cycling world focusing squarely in on Yorkshire, and Leeds in particular, now is the time to really get your plans for the weekend set in stone. Whether you’re a local to the area, or plan to visit from another UK location, Welcome to Yorkshire and other Yorkshire authorities are really pushing the boat out for you. Five impressive grandstands are to be erected on The Headrow, allowing huge audiences to gather and enjoy the peloton cycle out to start the world’s most famed bike race. Spectator hubs are also expected to be in place, allowing you to line the streets and await the cyclists arrival whilst not missing a minute of the race action as it is shown live on big screens. Spectator hubs outside the city are expected to be located Scott Hall playing fields, Harewood House and in Otley, along with a number of other locations.
If you’re a fan of cycling or just want to head to Leeds for a feel of the atmosphere surrounding the huge event in the city, head to Roomzzz Leeds for a place to stay over the landmark weekend.