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Mark Cavendish is aiming for a Yorkshire win in the Tour de France
Mark Cavendish is dreaming of sprinting to the yellow jersey at the culmination of the opening stage of the 2014 Tour de France in front of his family and friends.
The complete route for the 101st edition was announced today in Paris with confirmation of a flat finish in Harrogate following the Grand Depart in Leeds on July 5.
A 191-kilometre stage will culminate in Harrogate, the home of Cavendish’s mother, and the ProTeam Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider wants to celebrate the milestone in style.
“It is great,” he said.
“I’m super excited about the first stage coming to Harrogate, my mother’s home town. I still have a lot of family there and it gives me an opportunity to wear the yellow jersey in front of my fans, so to dream of that is a big thing.”
Stage one from Leeds includes an excursion through the grounds of Harewood House and the Dare 2b Yorkshire Festival of Cycling before reaching Harrogate.
The second stage, with climbs from York to Sheffield, was described by reigning Tour de France champion Chris Froome as “difficult” but Cavendish’s fellow Briton is looking forward to the home support throughout the opening stages.
“It is massive for us at Team Sky,” he said.
“For me it feels like a real privilege to have the Tour coming to the UK and going there as defending champion.
“I was bowled over this year at the support we had over in France, so I can only imagine what it is going to be like over in Yorkshire, it is going to be massive. It certainly gives a little bit of added pressure too I’m sure.”
Welcome To Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity introduced a video at the route-announcement presentation in Paris and is looking forward to showing the county to the watching world next summer.
“Today is another huge milestone and we are getting closer to July 5,” he said.
“When someone writes the history of Yorkshire, this will be a day they will put down as a real positive day for the county.
“I would think there would be a minimum of one million spectators per day, and probably closer to two million - that will depend on the weather. People will realise it is a once-in-a-generation thing and they will turn out in big numbers.
“It is about getting young people cycling, inspiring young people, boosting the Yorkshire economy, it is about promoting Yorkshire and my message to anybody who has got a region, a city or even a country to promote, if you want to get yourself on the map get the Grand Depart of the Tour de France.”
With the Grand Depart in Yorkshire leading on to a third stage from Cambridge to London, the Tour will return to the British capital for the first time since 2007, with Mayor of London Boris Johnson relishing the prospect of seeing the world’s elite road cyclists return to the host city of the 2012 Olympics.
“Our national enthusiasm for cycling has reached fever pitch since the 2012 Games and after two consecutive victories in the Tour,” he said.
“Next year a new generation of Chris Froomes are sure to be inspired as they watch our cycling legends sprint up the Mall to a roar of spectators clamouring to see the battle for the Yellow Jersey.”
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