The route for the 101st Tour de France has been announced, and confirms that The Grand Depart of next year’s Tour will be from Leeds on 5th July. The first two stages will take place in Yorkshire with the third stage from Cambridge to London. The opening stage to Harrogate is expected to end in a sprint, giving Mark Cavendish – who has 25 stage wins in the Tour – the chance to take the race leader’s yellow jersey in his mother’s home town.
The stage into London will finish on The Mall. The exact route of the race in London is still to be confirmed, but will no doubt take in some of the major sights of the capital including Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace. We can expect a huge party atmosphere for this event – the fourth time the race has visited the UK and the first time since 2007, when a Westminster prologue was followed by a stage through Kent.
After it leaves Britain, the race will head to the French city of Lille before arriving in Ypres, to commemorate the 100th year since the start of World War One. Also adding interest are nine cobbled sections on stage five in northern France, which should certainly prove challenging for the cyclist and entertaining for the spectators.
The Tour will head through the Vosges Mountains and then the Alps before making its way south to the wonderful city of Nimes with its Roman amphitheatre. The stages in the Pyrenees start on Day 16 when the race will depart from the town of Carcassonne with its spectacular walled Cité. The Tour will include a total of five mountain-top finishes.
The penultimate stage will be a 54km individual time trial between Bergerac and Perigueux, which could decide the winner of the Tour.
The 21st and final stage will finish, as usual, on the Champs Elysees in Paris against a backdrop of the Arc de Triomphe, when the winner of the yellow jersey competition for the overall leader will be decided after three arduous but exhilarating weeks. Will the 2014 Tour route suit the 2013 winner Chris Froome? The itinerary would certainly seem to suit a climber such as Chris. There is plenty of time for cycling fans to speculate, and fans will be rushing to book accommodation in Yorkshire, Cambridge, London and in towns and cities all over France as the excitement of the Tour de France once again takes hold.