Tour 2014 Grand Depart launch party photo gallery by Andy Jones>>

The official British launch of the Yorkshire Grand Depart of the 2014 Tour de France took place on Thursday evening in Leeds Town Hall.

The Town Hall was decked out with Tour de France banners on the outside, and inside the media and special guests packed the main hall.

Tour director Christian Prudomme followed up the morning’s stage announcements in Paris with further details of the three opening stages to be hosted by the UK.

Prudhomme said: “After the unforgettable 2007 Tour in London the question for us was how long before we come back? With the amazing summer of cycling in Britain, we were convinced to come back sooner. As soon as possible.”

The route announcement was followed by fireworks and a party outside the Town Hall.

Stage one, Saturday July 5: Leeds – Harrogate, 190km

The stage will start just outside Leeds Town Hall and feature two King of the Mountains climbs, one of which will be Buttertubs Pass. However, the final 70km will be flat and the stage is designed to be a sprint finish. The final 400 metres in Harrogate are straight and flat.

The race will pass through Harewood, Otley, Ilkley, Skipton, Kettlewell, Aysgarth, Hawes, Reeth, Leyburn and Ripon.

“A certain sprinter might want to please his mother in Harrogate,” said Prudhomme, referring to Mark Cavendish whose mum lives in the town.

Stage two, Sunday July 6: York – Sheffield, 200km

The second road stage of the 2014 Tour will be very different from the first and will be loaded with eight climbs in the final 60km – totalling 1400 metres of ascent, and including Holme Moss in the Pennines. It’ll be a day for the attackers.

The stage will pass through Knaresborough, Silsden, Keighley, Haworth, Hebden Bridge, Elland, Huddersfield and Holmfirth.

Stage three, Monday July 7: Cambridge – London, 170km

Details of the opening part of the final British stage are sketchy, with a dotted line on the official map. However, once inside the M25 near London the route has been firmed up.

The race will pass through Epping Forest, then on to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with a finish on The Mall.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson appeared at the Leeds launch via video link and said: “London will be framed by shooting velocipedes”. We’re not sure either.

Leeds Town Hall, decked out for the Tour announcement

Christian Prudhomme addresses the media

Malcolm Elliott outside Leeds Town Hall in front of the huge crowd

Related links

Tour 2014 Grand Depart launch party photo gallery by Andy Jones>>

Harrogate, Sheffield, York and Cambridge confirmed as 2014 Tour stage towns

Yorkshire to host start of 2014 Tour de France

Yorkshire Tour de France bid to be discussed by MPs

British Tour de France Grand Depart details unveiled

Yorkshire in formal bid to host Tour de France start

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  • Jeff

    So excited to be travelling from Canada to see our first TdF. Will be spending the week in Leeds and then moving to London to catch the final sprint of the third stage.

  • Bob Isle

    My wife and I offer to share our modern family home with SIX guests (possibly 8, if four share our largest room) for the duration of the 2014 Tour. We live on the northern outskirts of Leeds, just 5.5 miles from the centre of the city, and 2.5 miles from the International Airport (LBA).
    We offer a full hospitality package including full English breakfast, lunch (or picnic lunch) and Dinner including all wines/other drinks. We will collect you from the airport in two luxury cars. We will transfer you to two prime viewing sites each day for the first two Stages of the Tour. And we will transfer you back to the Airport afterwards. You could extend your stay either side of the Grand Depart if you wish.
    Our home is quite large and very comfortable. We have three large Guestrooms (two of them en-suite) available, and you will share as a part of our family. We have a beautiful Dining Room, where you will enjoy first class home-cooked gourmet meals. We are very friendly and open and enjoy entertaining. We also have a nice Sauna and lovely gardens. Price is negotiable for the entire package.

  • Sea Hurley

    Although I am a resident of San Francisco I went to my first school in Sheffield,my wife and I will be in Leeds and Sheffield for the Tour;God willing and the creek dont rise. I saw my first Tour in
    1953 and a great number in between but I never thought for a moment I’d see it in Yorkshire.

  • Sean Hurley

    Although we are residents of San Francisco, I went to my first school in Sheffield. My wife and I will be in Leeds and Sheffield for the Tour;God willing and the creek dont rise. I saw my first Tour in
    1953 and a great number in between but I never thought for a moment I’d see it in Yorkshire.
    We just have to be there.

  • stuart stanton

    Yes Woody that’s what our Security man said, I was sitting here i 300m away in the warm all the time. Perhaps they would have been better taking the Tour through the Emmerdale set, its up near the sewage works near baildon I believe

  • Woody

    How fun it was standing out in the cold, watching interviews with the Emmerdale cast and other such Yorkshire luminaries on their way in to the gala dinner.

  • William Hirst

    Holme moss. It had to be done.