One year to Le Tour

One year to Le Tour

Published at 7:06pm 5th July 2013. (Updated at 8:36am 20th January 2014)


Yorkshire has started its 12-month countdown to the Tour de France.

The Grand Départ on 5 July 2014 will see hundreds of cyclists race from Leeds to Harrogate via places including Otley, Ilkley, Skipton, Masham and Ripon.

On day two, competitors will make their way from York to Sheffield via Knaresborough, Bolton Abbey and Addingham among other places.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is going to feature prominently and officials are working alongside Craven District Council and Richmondshire District Council to help communities get involved.

Kathryn Beardmore, from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, said: "The Grand Départ right on our doorstep is obviously a major event and we are all working hard to make the most of this opportunity.

"The fact that it is coming through the National Park - and with the visitor numbers anticipated - means there will be an absolutely massive boost to the local economy so it's important to get the message out about the scale of this event.

"In fact, our Area Rangers are helping local communities to put plans together."

100 children from several schools got on their bikes to help launch the official countdown in Leeds.

They were joined by 82-year-old Brian Robinson, the first British rider to win a stage of the Tour de France in 1958, and current professional cyclist Dean Downing from Rotherham.

Brian Robinson said: "In 12 months time the greatest cycling race in the world will be starting in my home county of Yorkshire. When I rode Le Tour in the 1950s it never even crossed my mind that one day we might be able to bring it home, but we've done it and I for one will be very proud to see them riding on the roads I know so well."

Ruari Waterworth, 11, added: "It's so exciting that Le Tour is coming to Yorkshire. It's going to be so amazing to see them coming through Otley and being able to cheer them on, I still can't quite believe they will be here, on the very roads I ride my bike in 12 months time. I can't wait!"

Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: "The 5th July 2014 will mark one of the greatest days in Yorkshire's long and proud history.

"The Tour de France will put Yorkshire on the map across the world and hopefully inspire a new generation of children to take up the sport and achieve great things. That is why it was so wonderful to share this important milestone with them and to see their excitement about the race coming to their county."

tour de france countdown