PARIS - Reuters
In this file photo, British cyclist Bradley Wiggins, the 2012 winner, competes in the 53,5-km individual time-trial and nineteenth stage of the Tour. AFP photo
British cycling success this year has been rewarded with the selection of north of England county Yorkshire to host the start of the 2014 Tour de France.
The city of Leeds will host the “Grand Depart” on July 5, 2014 and there will also be a stage in London, organisers ASO said in a statement on Dec. 14.
Details of the stages will be announced on Jan. 17.
“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,” ASO said.
“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.”
This year, Wiggins became the first Briton to win the Tour, raising the profile of cycling’s most famous race in his country.
Wiggins, 32, also clinched the time-trial Olympic title at the London Games where the British cycling team, led by Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford, collected 12 medals across all disciplines, eight of them gold.
The Olympic road race drew hundreds of thousands of people along the route in July and the sport has enjoyed an increase in popularity in Britain.
“Today is a proud day for everyone involved in the bid and the county as a whole,” Yorkshire’s bid leader Gary Verity said. “We are honored that the race organizers have selected Yorkshire to be the host location of the 2014 Grand Depart.”