Tour de France: UK stages

  • Last Updated: July 1 2014, 12:54 BST

Leeds will host the start of the Tour de France on July 5. It will be the fourth time the Tour peloton has visited the UK - after 1974, 1994 and 2007 - and the second Grand Depart, after London seven years ago.

Yorkshire stages the start of this year's Tour de France
Yorkshire stages the start of this year's Tour de France

Welcome to Yorkshire, which has brought the race to the region, has promised the best Grand Depart yet. Here we look at the three UK stages.

July 5

Stage 1: Leeds to Harrogate (190.5-kilometres)

The Tour peloton will roll out from The Headrow towards Harewood House before going west to the Dales and Moors and circling south towards Harrogate. The picturesque scenery will be transmitted - rain or shine - to a global audience of millions, who will be reminded of the race's location by climbs including the Cote de Buttertubs, which comes midway through the opening day.

The first day's racing is anticipated to end in a sprint finish, something favoured by 25-time Tour stage winner Mark Cavendish. The Manxman has an additional incentive to pull on the fabled yellow jersey for the first time as the stage finishes in his mother's home town.

July 6

Stage 2: York to Sheffield (201km)

An undulating route likened to that of one-day classic Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the road from York to Sheffield will have the general classification contenders wary. Defending champion Chris Froome has already assessed the challenging route, which includes the 4.7km ascent of Holme Moss and a fierce, short, sharp climb of Jenkin Road in Sheffield in the finale.

The 800m climb at 10.8 per cent comes inside the closing 5km and could determine who wins on the day and who takes the yellow jersey, with the sprinters likely to slip down the reckoning.

July 7

Stage 3: Cambridge to London (155km)

Cambridge is as well-renowned for its love of cycling as its university and will host the riders before they head for London via Essex, where Cavendish has a home. The route does not feature a categorised climb and is almost certain to end in a bunch sprint, giving the overall contenders a breather.

The peloton will go by the Olympic Park and along the banks of The Thames before going through Westminster and towards Buckingham Palace. Just like in the 2012 Olympics the race will finish on The Mall. Can Cavendish, who was a lowly 29th in London, win there this time?