Grand Depart Leeds
Since it was announced in December 2012 that the world’s most famous cycling race would be coming to Yorkshire much attention has been paid to the route that the race will take.
Beating the competition of Edinburgh as a starting city, it is the charismatic city of Leeds where crowds in their tens of thousands will congregate next July to witness the start of the world’s leading endurance sporting event.
Taking in the highlights of the rugged Dales landscape the race will have its Grand Depart in cosmopolitan Leeds on 5th July, passing through the countryside of North Yorkshire and ending the first stage of the race in upmarket Harrogate.
The first stage will include two brisk climbs mid-race and a a long flattish run-in, it has been designed with a sprint finish in mind when riders reach Harrogate which will favour cyclists such as Mark Cavendish who orginates from the town.
The second stage beginning in historic York will take riders through a much tougher terrain before finishing on a flat in the industrial city of Sheffield. The last part of the second stage will challenge riders to 1,400 metres of climbing in the last 50 miles before a flat finish in Sheffield.
The third stage will take place in the south of the country, travelling from cycling-friendly city Cambridge, through Essex and east London, passing through Epping Forest and finishing on the London’s Pall Mall.
With much discussion about the physical challenges of the course for the cyclists we thought we would give an idea of the local delights that visitors can take advantage of along the route. Beginning from sampling some of Leeds famous nightlife, to village tea rooms, and some of Yorkshire’s best restaurants.
The Grand Depart in Leeds is likely to attract crowds in their thousands to witness the historic start. Despite being a cultural destination in Yorkshire for decades, Leeds has never before hosted a sporting tournament of this caliber. Fending of world class cities such as Edinburgh and Florence to be chosen as the start location of Tour de France, Leeds will open its arms to welcome visitors from all over the world next summer.
Those deciding to begin their Le Tour journey in Leeds might want to experience fine dining, whilst soaking up some the city’s industrial past, by having dinner at The Foundry, a bistro-cum-wine bar on the site of a steel foundry. Those with an appetite for shopping may also want to indulge in a spot of retail therapy at one of Leeds famous shopping centres such as The Corn Exchange, or those with a few more pennies in their purse may opt for the Harvey Nichols store.
Hungry after race day? The Electric Press dominates Millenium Square in the centre of Leeds, and has no short of six restaurants with cuisine from all over the world. On the optimistic assumption that its a sunny evening (we know its England), there is plenty al fresco dining space for a glass of wine at sundown. Those in a celebratory mood may want to continue the night at young, trendy cocktail bar Boutique in Briggate, or Oporto, a local favourite drinking bar for Leeds based party goers and students.