TOUR de France champion Chris Froome and three other member of Team Sky caused a stir as they carried out a reconnaissance ride through Yorkshire.

The cyclists have been in the county cycling through the dales and other parts of North Yorkshire, testing out parts of the two opening stages of the Grand Depart.

On Friday (May 30) they took in the Buttertubs pass climb and sailed past dales towns and villages including Hawes and Reeth in Swaledale as they tested out Stage One of the course towards the end of last week.

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They remained in Yorkshire over the weekend when they tried out parts of Stage Two of the course, which will run from York to Sheffield. Cycling fans lined the bigger climbs of the second stage to watch the revered cyclists.

Froome told a television station the scenery was “breathtaking” and hadn’t realised how beautiful Yorkshire was before his visit.

Chris Froome is among the favourites to claim the 2014 crown and has already secured overall victory in the Tour of Oman and more recently the Tour de Romandie in Switzerland.

German rider Marcel Kittel, one of the world’s lead sprinter riders visited Yorkshire in April for a four-day reconnaissance with five of his Giant-Shimano teammates. The 25-year-old said the roads and terrain were very different to what he had expected and said it was not an easy route.