The Yorkshire Tour de France route

If you’ve been to Leeds, you will know that it is not in France. You may even be aware of this if you haven’t visited. Despite that fact, the city is to host Le Grand Départ of the 2014 Tour de France. There will be two stages in Yorkshire with stage three taking place in southern England.

We’re not sure how Yorkshire will feel about hosting the Tour. They heard that someone in Sheffield drank a coffee in 1997 and have been campaigning to have that part of the county reclassified as part of ‘the South’ ever since. If actual French people turn up, talking French and shrugging, there might be some kind of an incident. I lived there for a bit and several people still haven’t forgiven me for using a diphthong.

However, if the county can tolerate the Tour, what kind of a route will we get?

Tour director, Christian Prudhomme, said:

“Yorkshire is a region of outstanding beauty, with breathtaking landscapes whose terrains offer both sprinters and attackers the opportunity to express themselves.”

It sounds like a bit of a back-handed compliment to say that somewhere has terrain that allows sprinters to express themselves. Oman has that sort of terrain. Wyoming has that sort of terrain. Fortunately, Yorkshire doesn’t, despite what Monsieur Prudhomme says.

The Yorkshire stages of the 2014 Tour could head into the Dales or the North York Moors and that’s the same kind of lumpy countryside that makes the Peak District stages of the Tour of Britain so interesting. Grand Tour cyclists are used to long, steady climbs, but the profile of a Yorkshire stage is likely to look positively serrated.

Constant ups and downs tend to shake the peloton into fragments. Hopefully we’ll get some good racing.