Tour de France 2014 to visit Leeds, Harrogate, York, Sheffield, Cambridge and London
By Matt Westby - follow @MattSkyCycling. Last Updated: 19/01/13 9:11am
Tour de France: On its way to Britain in 2014
Leeds, Harrogate, York, Sheffield, Cambridge and London will all host stage starts or finishes as the Tour de France returns to Britain next year.
The world's most famous cycle race will spend three days in Great Britain in 2014, with two of those seemingly tailor-made for Mark Cavendish to take stage wins on home soil.
The Grand Départ will be held in Leeds, with the first stage crossing the Yorkshire Dales and ending in a sprint finish in Harrogate on July 5.
Stage two will take the peloton on a rolling route littered with short but steep climbs from York to Sheffield on July 6.
The race will then travel to south for a final British stage starting in Cambridge and ending in London on July 7, before heading back to France.
Next year's Tour is the first time it has visited British shores since 2007, when one million of fans lined the streets of London for the prologue and opening stage.
Tour race director Christian Prudhomme said: "Yorkshire is a region of outstanding beauty, with breath-taking landscapes whose terrains offer both sprinters and attackers the opportunity to express themselves.
"Yorkshire has a history of sport and a history of cycling, and has know-how in terms of organisation.
"The Grand Départ of the Tour de France 2007 in London, the first ever organised in the United Kingdom, will remain unforgettable.
"The amazing British summer for cycling convinced us to come back as soon as possible."
There will be no prologue in 2014, with the opening day of the event instead taking riders 190km through Skipton, Kettlewell, Kilnsey, Aysgarth, Middleham and Ripon.
The sprint finish will provide the perfect opportunity for Cavendish to get an early victory on the board in Harrogate, the town where his mother was born.
Stage two will then travel 200km through Knaresborough, Skipton, Keighley, Haworth, Hebden Bridge, Huddersfield and Holmfirth on its way to Sheffield.
Clipping the eastern flank of the Peak District, it will take riders over no fewer than six hills in the final 60km, climbing 1,400m, and suit "puncheurs" such as reigning world champion Philippe Gilbert, Peter Sagan or Joaquim Rodriguez.
The 170km stage to London will pass through Epping Forest and the Olympic Park, before finishing in another sprint on The Mall that Cavendish will again be favourite to win.
Excited, enthusiastic and proud
Yorkshire's successful bid was led by Welcome To Yorkshire. It's chief executive, Gary Verity, said: "Ours is a land of stunning landscapes and passionate people. Yorkshire is known as the spiritual heartland of British cycling.
"We are more than ready to welcome the Tour de France. The people of Yorkshire are excited, enthusiastic and proud.
"The peloton will be technically tested as they tackle some challenging terrain in what are sure to be two exhilarating days of racing in the county.
"The British public's response since the news broke that the 2014 Grand Départ would be hosted in Yorkshire has been overwhelming and I am sure the route announcements today will encourage even more people to come to the county to experience for themselves the phenomenon that is Le Tour."
Hosting the Grand Depart is anticipated to raise up to £100million for the Yorkshire economy.
Details of the French leg of the 2014 race will be unveiled on October 23.