Cyclists follow Luto on their journey from Leeds to Paris

The Tour de France is the world’s largest annual sporting event. As a keen cyclist I’m very excited that this year, the 101st Tour de France is coming to my local area and starting in Yorkshire – the 20th Grand Départ to be held outside of France since the Tour began in 1903. The first foreign start of the Tour de France was hosted in Amsterdam in 1954, and has since visited eight other countries across Europe – just a small area of the world compared to where Luto’s global clients are based.

Starting the Tour de France in a foreign host city not only helps to increase international support for the event but also brings a large economic return to the start host city. This is an exciting time to be a business in Leeds, with the Grand Départ expected to attract over 3 million visitors to Yorkshire and encourage much trade and investment in the local area.

Support for cycling across the United Kingdom has grown in recent years following an upsurge of British successes; in 2012 Bradley Wiggins became the first British Cyclist to win the Tour de France, and less than a month later gained his 7th Olympic Gold medal at the London Olympics. In the same year, Mark Cavendish dominated the sprint stages of the tour, and was named by French newspaper L’Equipe as the Tour de France’s best sprinter of all time, while 2013 saw Kenyan-born, British professional Chris Froome claimed the overall title in the Tour de France.

On Saturday 5th July, the 22 teams, comprising 9 riders each, will begin their long journey towards the finish line in Paris. The route, starting at the Town Hall in the centre of Leeds, West Yorkshire, passes within ear shot of the Luto head offices and goes on to take in 190 kilometres of beautiful Yorkshire scenery, before the riders finish for the day in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. Stage 2 sees the riders set off from York before tackling a hill stage over the 198 kilometre journey to Sheffield, South Yorkshire, while Stage 3, the last before the riders reach France, takes place between Cambridge and London.

After an impressive 3,656 kilometres, 23 days later (including only 2 rest days) the cyclists will arrive in the iconic city of Paris, the home of Luto’s new European office, for a sensational sprint finish on the Champs-Elysées. Having visited Paris to watch the final stage of the Tour in 2013, I can say the atmosphere and support for the cyclists along the whole route will be incredible.

If you would like to find out more information about the route and where you can support the cyclists visit http://letour.yorkshire.com/.

Grand Depart Yorkshire 2014, Bicycle in Otley market place and Leeds town hall.

Grand Depart Yorkshire 2014, Yellow bicycle in Otley market place and Leeds Town Hall.