Tour’s warm welcome to Sheffield

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SHEFFIELD is on the map – as part of the route for the greatest cycling event on the planet.

Tour de France organisers have revealed details of three legs for their 2014 Grand Départ, to be held in the UK.

One leg will finish in Sheffield, after running from York across the Dales taking in Harrogate, Ilkley Moor, Huddersfield and Holmfirth.

The provisional route will enter South Yorkshire from the Woodhead Pass, then run via Langsett, Bradfield, Oughtibridge, Grenoside, Parson Cross, Fox Hill, Wadsley Bridge, Fir Vale and Wincobank, ending up at Sheffield Arena.

Sheffield’s civic and business leaders are enthusiastic.

Coun Isobel Bowler, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for culture, sport and tourism, said: “The Tour de France is one of the best-known sporting spectacles on the planet and to be given this opportunity is fantastic.

“We want to ensure Sheffield is shown at its best to those visitors who will flock to Sheffield to see it in person, and to the multitudes that will watch on television.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Hallam MP Nick Clegg said: “We will be welcoming the world’s largest annual sporting event.

I know Sheffielders will be out in their thousands to cheer on the likes of Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish through our streets.

“The Tour has a worldwide television audience of 3.5 billion people and it is shown in over 188 countries.

“It will be a great chance to showcase Sheffield and provide a boost to the economy.”

Details of the routes were revealed in Paris at the British Ambassador’s residence.

The 125-mile stage from York to Sheffield will be on Sunday, July 6, after the initial leg from Leeds through the Yorkshire Dales the day before.

The third UK stage will be from Cambridge to London on Monday, July 7.

Christian Prudhomme, Tour de France director, said: “Yorkshire is a region of outstanding beauty, with breathtaking landscapes whose terrains offer both sprinters and attackers the opportunity to express themselves.

“We’ve encountered a phenomenal desire to welcome the Tour and no doubt that popular acclaim will be particularly in evidence there.”