Gearing up for Tour de France as 2,000 journalists descend on Leeds

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THE WORLD’S media will descend on Leeds this weekend as all eyes turn to Yorkshire in the run-up to the Tour de France.

From today, over 2,000 journalists from 600 news organisations across the globe will flock to the specially-built Media Village on Whitehall Road.

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, was joined by director of the Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme, for the site’s official opening yesterday, along with Yorkshire the Yorkshire Terrier – the lucky mascot of the Yorkshire bid.

Mr Verity said: “We are very proud and we have worked very hard to get to this point.

“It’s not just the media centre here – it is the headquarters for the Tour de France staff and the police, so it’s a massive site.

“Anyone who wondered how big this event was really going to be can now see it for themselves.

“We have 2,000 journalists coming here.

“This is truly a huge event and will be life-changing for the county of Yorkshire.”

Mr Verity and Mr Prudhomme performed a ceremonial ribbon cutting with help from schoolchildren from Carr Manor Community School in Leeds.

Mr Prudhomme said: “I am very excited. It will be a great day and I am very impressed with all you have done in Leeds.”

Yesterday representatives from the Netherlands Tour de France team arrived in Leeds to get some tips for when they host the event in Utrecht in 2015.

Le Tour Utrecht spokeswoman, Natalja Talitsch, said: “We are seeing and getting a feel for how it all goes here in Leeds and learning from it so we can take that back home.

“This year there’s no pressure for us, so we can relax and enjoy the event too.”

Meanwhile, Quick-Step rider Mark Cavendish and the Omega Pharma team geared up for the Tour de France by taking part in a training ride near Sheffield yesterday.

The Grand Départ starts on Saturday, July 5.

Over two million spectators are expected to line the route of each of the two Yorkshire stages.

The first stage races from Leeds to Harrogate via the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and on Sunday, July 6, the second stage goes from York to Sheffield.

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