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Tour de France Live
2014 Stage One
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à Yorkshire! When all 19 pubs in the West Yorkshire town of Otley translate their names into French, you know something big is about to happen.
The Tour de France, the biggest cycling race in the world, will thunder through the town today as part of the 190.5km opening stage. Judging by the pride with which Yorkshire has embraced this Gallic honour, they won’t be short of crowds spilling out of Le Cheval et maréchal-ferrant (The Horse and Farrier) to watch.
Mark Cavendish, still Britain’s best sprinter, is coveting the Yellow Jersey in this opening stage, which ends in his mother’s hometown of Harrogate. The British connections continue through York, Huddersfield, Sheffield, hopping down to Cambridge on Day 3 before ending on the Mall in London, site of Bradley Wiggins’s Olympic triumph in 2012. The Sideburned One may be unlikely to feature at this year’s race, but for a sport freewheeling into the nation’s consciousness, the symbolism is fitting.
Gary Imlach introduces coverage of the opening stage, which takes the riders on a 190.5km journey from Leeds to Harrogate. The famous race features three stages in England, including this one to mark the start of the 101st hosting of the event, as the riders tackle a route that takes in several villages in the Yorkshire Dales, with the steep terrain offering an intriguing opening challenge. There are three climbs in the Dales to be negotiated, but the expectation is still of a sprint finish, with Mark Cavendish hoping to take the Yellow Jersey on home soil. With commentary by Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen, reports by Ned Boulting and analysis by Chris Boardman.
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