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Le Tour De France Grand Départ: Coming to Yorkshire in 2014

There is no doubt that the sport of cycling is enjoying a bit of a moment at present. The likes of Sirs Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins solidified this sentiment during the London Olympics, and the momentum has been steadily increasing ever since. This momentum will come to a head on the 5th and 6th of July, 2014, when the world’s most popular cycle race, Le Tour De France, kicks off in Yorkshire with the first-stage race that has come to be known as le Grand Départ.

This will be the first time Le Tour has ever come this far north in England, and race viewers (over three billion of them last year alone) will undoubtedly be enthralled by the rolling cycling landscapes of the Yorkshire countryside. In addition to the bucolic rolling countryscapes of Yorkshire, cyclists will also speed through some of the areas most iconic cities. Leeds, York, Ripon, Harrowgate, and Sheffield are all part of this year’s Grand Départ route.

The fact that an iconic race such as Le Tour is coming to England may be a bit confusing to those who are not familiar with the history of Le Tour De France. While it is true that Le Tour is a French event through and through, the global popularity of the race has made it possible for race organisers to expand their boundaries a bit, holding certain stages of the multi-staged race in neighbouring countries. There are however, a few targets along the route that have become as traditional and iconic as the race itself, and are therefore adhered to each and every year. The two most recognisable of these targets are the cyclists’ gruelling mountainous climb through the Alps and the Pyrenees, and the big finish at the Champs-Elysées in Paris.

Each stage of the Tour De France is timed to the finish, with the cyclists’ aggregate times (combined with the other times from previous stages of the race) dictating who is in contention to win. The rider that has the lowest aggregate time wears the famous Maillot Jaune, the coveted yellow jersey that has become a true icon of this prestigious event.

If you are thinking about going to watch the Tour why not make it extra special. Carr Hall Castle, Broughton Hall and Eden are all close to the route which would be the perfect place to watch the racing. We have a full list of our luxury properties in the Yorkshire area here.

This year, in addition to the prestigious event itself, the county of Yorkshire will be running a cultural festival in the 100 days leading up to the event, as well as concurrently. The cultural festival will not only act as a global showcase for Yorkshire’s artistic talent, it will also act as a forum in which to bring communities together. Additionally, the festival will highlight all of the wonderful things there are to do in Yorkshire; from the galleries and museums to the National Parks and yes, cycling clubs, there will definitely be something for everyone in the days leading up to this unprecedented event.

Le Grand Départ officially kicks-off on the 5th of July, 2014.
The Yorkshire Cultural Festival will run from 27 March, 2014 to 6 July, 2014.