LEEDS, United Kingdom, July 03, 2014 (AFP) – Yorkshire will outdo London as
a Tour de France departure venue when the world’s greatest cycle race begins
in Leeds on Saturday, sprint king Mark Cavendish said on Thursday.
The former world champion is hoping to win the opening stage which ends in
Harrowgate, where his mother was born, and pull on the yellow jersey for the
But the 29-year-old, who has already won 25 stages at the Tour since
claiming four in his second Tour appearance in 2008, said it would be wrong to
get fixated on that stage alone.
“It’s incredible that for the second time in my career the UK’s got the
‘Grand Depart’ for the Tour de France, the biggest bike race in the world,” he
“The first days are in Yorkshire, the first race finishes in my mother’s
home town, it’s really exciting but the Tour de France is 21 days long and it
doesn’t finish after we leave Yorkshire.
“We’ve got an incredibly strong Omega Pharma-Quick Step team and we’d like
to be successful throughout the three weeks.”
Whether he wins or not, the Manxman is backing the locals in Yorkshire to
create an atmosphere to remember.
“The type of support, not just in Yorkshire, but from the whole United
Kingdom we’ve had for this Grand Depart is just phenomenal,” he said.
“We came here some weeks ago to reckon (appraise) the courses, and the vibe
that was around us for the Grand Depart was phenomenal, it was like something
I’ve never seen.
“People who lived the Tour de France in 2007 when it started in London
still talk about it being an exceptional Grand Depart but I’m sure Yorkshire’s
going to outdo that.
“Everything I’ve seen, the support from people who know about bike racing,
people who don’t know bike racing, it’s been absolutely tremendous.
“I really think everybody here still won’t be able to anticipate how big
it’s going to be at the weekend and I’m fully looking forward to it to savour.”