EXCITEMENT over next year’s Tour de France has hit new levels as organisers unveiled new details of the route the world’s premier cycle race will take through Leeds and West Yorkshire.
Cycling fans can start making plans for where they will be able to watch the start of the Grand Depart when it sets off from outside Leeds Town Hall on July 5.
Huge crowds are expected to gather to watch the world’s leading cyclists race along The Headrow and north out of the city, before branching off through the historic Harewood Estate.
Students from Carr Manor Community School in Meanwood were in Paris today as part of a Yorkshire delegation to hear details of Le Tour’s 21 stages announced to the world.
Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire Gary Verity, who gave a presentation in French to the nearly 5,000 guests, said it was “an honour” to represent the region.
He said: “Yorkshire’s will be the greatest Grand Départ in the history of the Tour de France. We will raise the bar for all future hosts with our Cultural Festival 100 days before the race, two stunning stages and a legacy that leaves a cycling imprint on the county which lasts for generations.”
Details of the precise route of the first two days of the Tour de France Grand Départ were published today on Welcome to Yorkshire’s website - http://letour.yorkshire.com.
After completing the official signing-in ceremony in front of Leeds Town Hall on Saturday July 5, the first day of the race, the riders will then line up on The Headrow for the ceremonial start.
The initial non-racing rollout will see the peloton ride along The Headrow to Eastgate before turning left onto Regent Street and following the A61 Scott Hall Road and Harrogate Road through Moortown and Alwoodley and on to Harewood.
Turning left at Harewood, Le Tour will enter the Harewood Estate taking in the ‘Capability’ Brown-designed grounds and passing the historic Harewood House.
Upon leaving the estate and turning left onto the A659, the 190-kilometre stage one officially begins, following Otley Road and Arthington Lane through Pool in Wharfedale and on to Otley.
The route then follows the A65 through Ilkley and Skipton, before turning north and heading through the Yorkshire Dales. The final element of the stage sees the route return south passing through Ripon before the finish in Harrogate.
Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield said: “The Tour de France Grand Départ will be the biggest event hosted in Leeds and Yorkshire in living memory.
“You can sense the anticipation level rising by the day as people start planning where they will watch from to be able to say ‘I was there’ at this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“We are immensely thrilled, excited and proud that this global event will be on our doorstep and creating a unique window for the world to see our city, county and country at its best.”