• Tour de France

Yorkshire to host Tour de France start

ESPN staff
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Bradley Wiggins' success in the Tour de France has helped bring the race back to England © PA Photos
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Yorkshire will host the opening two stages of the 2014 Tour de France, bringing the race back to England seven years since it last visited in 2007.

A third stage will be held in southern England with a finish in London before the race moves into France.

Yorkshire beat bids from Edinburgh and Florence in Italy to host the early stages of the world's most recognisable bike race.

Race director Christian Prudhomme said that Bradley Wiggins' victory in this year's race and the enthusiasm for cycling among the general public played a part in the decision.

The Yorkshire stages, including the Grand Depart in Leeds, will be run on July 5 and 6 and it will be the fourth time the Tour has visited Britain overall.

"Since the resounding success of the Grand Depart in London in 2007, we were very keen to return to the United Kingdom," Prudhomme said.

"Bradley Wiggins' historic 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."

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