THE route taken by the Tour de France will take when it visits Yorkshire in 2014 has been announced in Paris this morning.
The Grand Depart of the tour will take in parts of North Yorkshire on July 5 and 6 next year.
The first day starts in Leeds, then passes through Harewood, Otley, Ilkley, Skipton, Kettlewell, Aysgarth, Hawes, Reeth, Leyburn, Ripon and finishing in Harrogate.
The second day of racing sets off in York and takes in Knaresborough, Silsden, Keighley, Haworth, Hebden Bridge, Elland, Huddersfield, Holmfirth and Sheffield.
The race will then move south of day three, with that stage finishing on The Mall in London.
Christian Prudhomme, Tour de France director, said: “Yorkshire is a region of outstanding beauty, with breathtaking landscapes whose terrains offer to all kind of riders the opportunity to express themselves.
"When we build the route of Le Tour, we look at both sporting aspects and the beauty of the route.
"I knew Yorkshire was a nice region but I didn’t imagine it corresponded so well to what we need for a perfect Grand Départ.
"We wanted two different stages to begin with, two different challenges for the riders.
"The first stage, the one that will gives the first Yellow Jersey, might be perfect for sprinters, the second however will be probably be more suited to attackers and climbers, and the repetition of the hills in the last part, like in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, will definitely be worth seeing.”
Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “The routes of the Grand Départ will showcase some of Yorkshire’s iconic cycling climbs and the county’s stunning land and cityscapes.
"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."
Skipton and Ripon MP Julian Smith said: “With a worldwide television audience of 3.5 billion people in 188 countries, this opportunity to promote where we live to tourists and where we work to businesses is too good to miss.
"Skipton, Ripon, Upper Wharfedale, and Masham will all benefit massively from this event and will give the Tour de France a great welcome.
“We saw how big the Olympic Torch Relay was last year but the Tour de France is on a much bigger scale. Each night of the Tour, 1,200 hotel rooms are booked and 2,000 journalists travel with the race along its route."
* Full details of the route will be unveiled at a press conference in Leeds this afternoon.