Tour de France to start in Yorkshire in 2014
YORKSHIRE has been chosen to host the start of the 2014 Tour de France.
The Grand Depart will return to Britain for the first time since 2007, when one million people lined the streets of London for the opening prologue.
Tour organisers Amaury Sports Organisation selected Yorkshire ahead of a separate British-wide bid with an Edinburgh start, but that remains in the running for a future date.
The 100th edition of the Tour begins in Corsica on June 29, 2013.
Leeds and then London will host the race before it heads for France, with full route details to be revealed next month.
A statement from ASO read: "The organisers of the Tour de France are pleased to announce that the Grand Depart of the Tour de France 2014 will take place in the United Kingdom in the county of Yorkshire, before heading to London for a stage finish.
"After an outstanding 2012 for British cycling, marked by the historical victory of Bradley Wiggins on the Tour de France, the United Kingdom will again hold pride of place in 2014.
"The Grand Depart of the 101st edition of the Tour will take place on July 5 in Leeds in the county of Yorkshire.
"Seven years after the Grand Depart of the Tour de France 2007 and two years after the latest Olympic Games, London will host the last stage on British soil, before the pack returns to mainland Europe.
"The details of this Grand Depart and the stages it will include will be revealed at a press conference that will take place on Thursday January 17, 2013, in two phases, in both Leeds and Paris."
Two days of racing will take place of Yorkshire will take place on July 5 and 6, 2014.
The Yorkshire bid had the support of Mark Cavendish, Ben Swift, double Olympic track champion Ed Clancy and Brian Robinson, the first Briton to win a stage of the Tour de France in 1958.
Barry Hoban, winner of eight stages of the Tour and Malcolm Elliott, the first British rider to win a points jersey in a Grand Tour, also backed the bid.
Tour director Christian Prudhomme praised the "outstanding beauty" and varied terrain of Yorkshire.
He said: "Since the resounding success of the Grand Depart in London in 2007, we were very keen to return to the United Kingdom.
"Bradley Wiggins' historical victory last July and the enormous crowds that followed the cycling events in the streets of London during the Olympic Games encouraged us to go back earlier than we had initially planned.
"Yorkshire is a region of outstanding beauty, with breathtaking landscapes whose terrains offer both sprinters and attackers the opportunity to express themselves.
"We have encountered a phenomenal desire from the Yorkshire team to welcome the Tour de France and have no doubt that passion and support will be particularly evident for the Grand Depart of the Tour de France 2014."