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Rapturous reception for riders

Rapturous reception for riders

Published at 12:54pm 4th July 2014. (Updated at 2:13pm 4th July 2014)

Yorkshire has officially welcomed the 22 teams who will take part in this year's Tour de France.

Thousands of people turned out for the Opening Ceremony and Team Presentation at Leeds Arena on Thursday night.

Local band Hope & Social were joined by nearly 100 other performers to open the show with their song The Big Wide.

They produced the track especially for Yorkshire Festival 2014.

Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh later joined singer/songwriter Alistair Griffin to perform The Road - the official anthem of Yorkshire's Grand Départ 2014.

The Tour's 198 riders, including defending champion Chris Froome and sprint sensation Mark Cavendish, took to the stage and were greeted with cheers from the crowd.

Froome described the welcome as "absolutely unreal".

Yorkshire band Embrace headlined the event, which was their first arena gig since their recent sell-out comeback tour and album.

Frontman Danny McNamara said: "It's going to be amazing, to have one of the biggest annual sporting events in the world coming to our back yard, and to be part of it is nothing short of massive. We're really looking forward to it!"

Tour de France ceremony

Tour de France defending champion Chris Froome