UK & World News
Tour De France: Opening Ceremony In Yorkshire
The opening ceremony of the 101st Tour de France has been held at Leeds Arena as thousands of church bells rang out across Yorkshire to celebrate.
The event's traditional team presentation saw 198 riders from 22 of the world's top cycling teams parade through the town where they will get a royal send off on Saturday by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
The parade through Leeds was followed by a stage show headlined by Yorkshire band Embrace and included the orchestra and chorus of Opera North, and Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh.
Two minutes of bell ringing in towns and villages across the county was organised as part of the event theme "The People of Yorkshire Welcome The World".
If that sounds a bit over the top, at times during the weekend it is likely to feel as though the world has descended on some of Yorkshire's narrowest and most picturesque streets.
An estimated two million people will line the routes, with villages in the Yorkshire Dales National Park being warned that up to 700 vehicles an hour will be trying to get in before the race starts.
Although locals will be inconvenienced by the traffic, 300 miles of road closures and 30,000 traffic cones they are being told to expect a £100m economic boost thanks to increased tourism and inward investment attracted by the publicity.
In Otley, where riders will power through the town centre on Sunday's race from York to Sheffield, the benefits are already being felt.
The Black Horse Hotel, which closed down last year, has been the scene of frantic activity as the owners worked to refurbish and re-open it in time for the weekend's crowds.
Meanwhile the Coach and Horses pub in Harrogate, the home town of British sprinter Mark Cavendish's mum, has changed its name to the Cvndsh and Horses.
Cavendish has been tipped as a possible winner of the first day's race, which could mean being presented with the coveted yellow jersey by the Duchess of Cambridge.
Tour de France Race director Christian Prudhomme told Sky News he was hugely impressed with what he has seen.
"The Tour de France is not only the world's greatest bike race, we need a stunning backdrop," he said.
"Yorkshire is gorgeous, that is very important. You have the passion."