Further details emerge of 2014 Tour de France stages in Britain
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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Further details emerge of 2014 Tour de France stages in Britain

by Shane Stokes at 6:22 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Stage finishes in Harrogate, Sheffield and on London’s Mall

Tour de FranceThe official launch of the route is still many months away but more details have emerged about the three opening stages of the Tour de France to be held in Britain next year. Race organisers ASO are holding a press conference in Paris today, and director Christian Prudhomme has unveiled further information.

With the three days already confirmed as beginning in Yorkshire and then travelling south to London, it has been revealed that stage one of the race will run from Leeds to Harewood and pass through the Yorkshire Dales. This is more than likely to finish in a bunch sprint, handing Mark Cavendish the possibility of taking the first yellow jersey of the race.

Day two will begin in York and take in Keighley and Huddersfield before finishing in Sheffield, hometown of former top British pro Malcolm Elliott. It is set to be a tougher day in the saddle, with a parcours likened to that of Liège – Bastogne – Liège. There will be eight climbs, with six of those coming in the final sixty kilometres.

These climbs will be up to five kilometres in length, will include slopes greater than 14 % in gradient and with the final ramp coming just five kilometres from the finish line. The latter could be used as a springboard for riders to chase the stage victory and also the race lead.

The final stage of the race to be held in Britain will start in the historic city of Cambridge and then pass through Epping Forest and the Olympic Park prior to finishing on the Mall.

According to the Telegraph, the stage will use the same finish as the Olympic road race, where British fans will hope that Mark Cavendish will be able to take the stage.

It states that the massive number of spectators – estimated at 1.5 million by police – which watched stage two of the 2007 Tour could be dwarfed next year with a crowd of 2.5 million by the roadside. If this is the case, it will be the biggest turnout ever for a Tour stage.

Interest in cycling in Britain is at an all time high, due in part to Bradley Wiggins’ victory in last year’s Tour and Olympic time trial as well as the success of Mark Cavendish and others.

The 2014 event will be the fourth time in all that the race will visit the country; it made its debut in 1974, then returned in 1994 and 2007.

Prudhomme said that the boom in interest was a big factor in the decision to see the race go back. “In 110 years of history, the Tour will depart for the second time in Britain, but this is the second time in seven years, demonstrating the development of cycling in the UK,” he stated.

“Following on from the most southerly (start to the Tour in Corsica) in 2013, it will be the northernmost start in the event's history.”

2014 Tour de France – initial details:

Stage one: Leeds - Harewood - Otley - Ilkley - Skipton - Kettlewell - Aysgarth - Hawes - Reeth - Leyburn - Ripon – Harrogate

Stage two: York - Knaresborough - Silsden - Keighley - Haworth - Hebden Bridge - Elland - Huddersfield - Holmfirth - Sheffield

Stage three: Cambridge - Epping Forest - the Olympic Park - the Mall


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