Tour de France web poll

Cycling enthusiasts in Harrogate are celebrating the announcement that the Harrogate district is to host the end of the first day of the Tour de France when the world’s most famous cycle race comes to Yorkshire in 2014.

Do you think the Tour de France will be good for the district? Cast your vote to the left of this story.

Crowds are already counting down to the event

Crowds are already counting down to the event

David Prince of CycleHarrogate has long campaigned for improvements on Harrogate’s cycle network, and hopes the event, which is already capturing the imagination of those in and around the town, will help he and other enthusiasts ramp up the region’s cycling provision.

He said: “It looks like there’s going to be a sprint finish in Harrogate.

“It is great for the town, I think we all need to get on with making it wonderful.

“It is a huge opportunity for everyone, cycling is going to be at the forefront now and we have to take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity as Harrogate is in the limelight.”

Mr Prince expects a carnival atmosphere when the world’s biggest cycling event wheels into town.

He said: “I would hope lots and lots of people will turn up on the day, there will be a real carnival atmosphere in the town.

“Harrogate has a reasonable cycle network, but it is not completely integrated.

“Work is being done to improve that, with links being set up for cyclists on trains, but there are parts of the network which are not built.

“We need better provision on the main arterial routes, and I am sure this wonderful news will help people commit to getting this done.”

Le Grand Départ will leave Leeds on Saturday, July 5 2014 and travel through the Dales before a sprint finish in Harrogate.

Harrogate, Masham, North Stainley, Ripon, South Stainley and Knaresborough will all feature of the famous race.

The route was announced at a press conference in Paris on the morning of Thursday January 17, followed by a public celebration in Leeds that evening. Pictures from the Leeds press conference are in the slideshow above.

Le Grand Départ is expected to attract more than a million spectators and a worldwide TV audience of more than two billion viewers.