Yorkshire Tour route revealed
Mark Cavendish will have the chance to take the 2014 Tour de France leader's yellow jersey in the town where his mother lives after it was announced the first stage of the race will be from Leeds to Harrogate.
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Cavendish, who has 23 stage wins to his name already, would be one of the favourites after a straightforward route was announced through the rolling Yorkshire Dales and a long flat finish into Harrogate, home of his mother.
The second stage will be more difficult, starting in York and going west to Keighley before heading south via Haworth - famous as the home of the Bronte sisters - and Huddersfield to finish in Sheffield.
The 2014 Tour will also aim to recreate the excitement of last year's London Olympics by having a third stage from Cambridge to the capital finishing in the Mall, organisers announced on Thursday.
The Mall in central London was the finishing line for the road races at the London 2012 Games and the Tour riders will end the British stages there, having done a circuit of the Olympic Park in Stratford.
The first stage in Yorkshire will start in Leeds on Saturday July 5 and see the riders go through Ilkley and Skipton, and then through the heart of the Dales via Kettlewell and Hawes to Leyburn in North Yorkshire before turning south through Ripon to the stage finish in Harrogate.
The second stage will begin in York and take in Keighley, Haworth, Hebden Bridge, Elland, Huddersfield and Holmfirth with a finish in Sheffield.
This will be the second time Britain has hosted the Grand Depart and the fourth visit in all following a single stage in Plymouth in 1974 and two across the south of England 20 years later.
Yorkshire won the bid to stage the Grand Depart in December, beating off rivals including Florence, in Italy.
The first stage will be 118miles (190km) long with the second stage both longer, at 124 miles (200km), and more challenging in terms of hills.
Christian Prudhomme, Tour de France director, said: "When we visited Yorkshire, it really captured our imagination and it has stayed long in our hearts.
"Since the resounding success of the Grand Depart in London in 2007, we were very keen to return to the UK."
Sir Bradley Wiggins is the current Tour de France champion and Prudhomme said his success played a part in the decision to come to the UK.
He was quoted by BBC Sport as saying: "Bradley Wiggins' historical victory last July and the enormous crowds that followed the cycling events in the streets of London during the Olympic Games encouraged us to go back earlier than we had initially planned.
"Yorkshire is a region of outstanding beauty, with breathtaking landscapes whose terrains offer both sprinters and attackers the opportunity to express themselves."