Team Sky welcome world’s media to Yorkshire

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Team Sky manager Sir Dave Brailsford welcomed the global media to Yorkshire ahead of the start of the Tour de France in the county.

Addressing hundreds of journalists from around the world, he said: “Welcome to Yorkshire, welcome to Britain.”

Team Sky's Chris Froome during a press conference in Leeds. Pic: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

Team Sky's Chris Froome during a press conference in Leeds. Pic: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

Sir Dave - who was born in Derbyshire and studied for an MBA at Sheffield University - was speaking at a press conference for Team Sky - the only British team in this year’s race - in Leeds, ahead of the start of the race in the Yorkshire city on Saturday.

The 50-year-old said: “The eve of the Tour de France is always exciting, but for us it’s especially so, starting in Yorkshire.

“It was yesterday, when I was in a car going up the M1 and it was a bit surreal.

“There was a sign warning of possible delays due to the Tour de France, as you’re driving up the M1 to Yorkshire.

“It’s an amazing experience to be driving up the M1 to the start of the Tour de France.”

The first three stages of the race are being held in Britain this year, with stages one and two - known as the Grand Depart - in Yorkshire, from Leeds to Harrogate and York to Sheffield, and stage three, on Monday, from Cambridge to London.

Sir Dave said: “I think of the last 15 years and the journey British cycling has been on and it feels like this is the pinnacle.”

Defending champion Chris Froome, of Team Sky, said he was going all out to retain his title.

The Kenyan-born 29-year-old told the packed press room: “Every season, comes with its own set of challenges and this year is no different. I have had issues with my lower back and I had a crash, but last week in training building in coming here has been really good.

“I feel I am in a good run of form and I feel I am ready for this.”

Earlier, at Omega Pharma-Quick-Step’s press conference, British favourite Mark Cavendish praised the nation’s support.

The 29-year-old, from the Isle of Man, said: “The support from not just Yorkshire but the whole UK has been unbelievable.

“I really think no-one here will be unable to anticipate how big it will be. I look forward to it.”

And the talented sprinter admitted to high hopes of winning stage one - which is set to end with a sprint finish in his mother’s hometown.

Cavendish said: “It would be nice to wear the yellow jersey, as I’ve not done that. Omega Quick-step is a strong team and I would like to do that, for the whole team.”

Fellow Omega sprinter Mark Renshaw, aged 31, from Australia, said: “It’s going to be exciting and you can see how nervous everyone is. Quietly, the team is confident.”