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Party in Leeds to launch 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ next Thursday

Route of British stages of next year's Tour to be unveiled as Surrey reveals that it too has been in talks...

Welcome to Yorkshire is hosting a party outside Leeds Town Hall from 6pm next Thursday 17 January to showcase its plans for the Grand Depart of the 2014 Tour de France. The event, called La Nuit du Tour, will see the unveiling of the route of the opening stages of next year's race, with other entertainment laid on.

Liège, host of last year's Grand Départ, put on a similar event ahead of its staging of cycling's biggest race, complete with a performance by soprano Francoise Viatour.

Tourism bosses from Yorkshire tempted to follow suit by engaging the services of Doncaster's Lesley Garrett for the evening may want to reflect on the rather pained expression on Bradley Wiggins' face last July as the singer gave a shall we say unique rendition of God Save The Queen as the newly crowned Tour de France champion stood on the Champs Élysées podium.

The opening two stages of the race will take place within Yorkshire, with the third finishing in London. It's not known for now where it will start - the smart money is on Cambridge - but it has been revealed that Surrey County Council, whose roads featured in the Olympic road races and time trials last year, has been in discussions to host the race, too.

That would seem unlikely, not least because any route that took in Surrey would mean a long transfer down from Yorkshire ahead of a stage that will see the Tour de France circus head back to France in the evening.

However, the county's cycling fans won't have to wait until next year to see the world's top cyclists in action there again, with the inaugural edition of the RideLondon Classic taking place on Sunday 4 August.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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