17 January 2013

The Yorkshire Grand Depart

As I've written before in the 5th July 2014 the Tour de France will be coming to Yorkshire and the three stages that will start the race in Britain that year will not disappoint.

There is no prologue so the peleton will be straight into a road racing stage when they pull out of Leeds. They will head off North off through Otley, Ilkley and Skipton towards the Yorkshire Dales. Then it will roll back south again, around Ripon and finish in Harrogate. Mark Cavendish's mother lives in Harrogate so that might be a nice way to honour here with a British win on stage one on British soil.

Stage 2 will roll out of York and head for Sheffield. Heading off West to Knaresborough,  then south through Keighley, Brontë country as they pass Haworth and Hebden Bridge. It also takes in Holmfirth famous for The Last of the Summer Wine and contains eights climbs many of them in the last 60km.

Stage three then heads off from Cambridge to London. It will enter London from the East via Epping Forrest, visit the Queen Elizabeth II Park (aka The Olympic Park). The Tour always finishes with some shots of the peleton racing along one famous river, this three day excursion to London will add another. From Stratford it will go along the Embankment past Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey before ending where else in an Olympic themed day but on the Mall. With that route it is likely to follow the end of the London Marathon to make it's way to the finish. So should be a sprinters finish hopefully this time Mark Cavendish will get to the front at the right time, it could well be one win in the year that he equals or beat Eddy Merckx's record of 34 stages wins. He is currently on 23 and when his is the team focus he can manage 5-6 wins a Tour.

Yorkshire man and Sky rider Ben Swift says:

"It looks like a really great route. Yorkshire is going to more than to do the Tour justice. 

"The fans are going to be amazing and if we get a nice bit of sunshine, it is going to be beautiful.

"Growing up in and around Sheffield, that's where I rode my bike, but I never thought that's where the Tour de France would one day be.

"I'm also familiar with the North Yorkshire roads and there are a lot of really interesting climbs up there, too." 

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