UK & World News
Tour De France 2014 To Start In Yorkshire
The Tour de France will start in Yorkshire in 2014, race organisers have announced.
The Grand Depart for the 101st race will be in Leeds and will come seven years after the Tour last came to Britain.
The director of the Tour de France said Britain's successful Olympics and the swell of support for cycling in the wake of Bradley Wiggins' historic win in 2012 had encouraged organisers to return to the UK for stages of the race.
Full details of the route will be released next month.
Yorkshire will host the first two days of racing on July 5 and 6 before the Tour moves south for a third stage in the south of England finishing in London.
The Tour, which attracts a television audience of 3.5bn, last came to Britain in 2007, starting out in London, and was a huge success with crowds lining the streets in support.
The Yorkshire bid was backed by Mark Cavendish, sprint star and former World Champion, Team Sky's Ben Swift and the Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy.
Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO), which runs the Tour, selected Yorkshire ahead of a separate British-wide bid with an Edinburgh start.
A statement from ASO read: "After an outstanding 2012 for British cycling, marked by the historical victory of Bradley Wiggins on the Tour de France, the United Kingdom will again hold pride of place in 2014."
Christian Prudhomme, Tour de France director, said: "Since the resounding success of the Grand Depart 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."
Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, the agency behind the county's bid, said: "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."
Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the news with a tweet in which he wrote: "Great to see more cycling success as Yorkshire & London to host 1st stages of 2014."
The 100th edition of the Tour begins in Corsica on June 29, 2013.