TOURISM chiefs admit they cannot wait for the Tour De France to hit Yorkshire.
Officials of Welcome to Yorkshire have been in Corsica to see the start of this year’s epic sporting challenge.
And they believe that next summer, when the world’s biggest sporting events hits Yorkshire, it will be a massive hit.
The 2014 Tour will start in Leeds with the riders spending two days in the White Rose county before heading to London and then across the Channel.
A key part of the route will see the riders race through Huddersfield and the Holme Valley before the challenging climb up Holme Moss.
“The main thing you have to understand about the Grand Depart is the hugeness of it,” Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity said.
“It is like nothing else on earth. We will see that in Leeds and Yorkshire next year.”
The two stages on July 5 and 6 will see the riders race north from Leeds and into the Dales before doubling back to Harrogate on the opening day, before they head from the historic walled city of York and west towards Keighley, Calderdale, Huddersfield and the Pennines on their way to Sheffield.
The nature of that second stage promises to be one of the more challenging starts to a Tour in recent history - even more so than this weekend’s tough opening stages on Corsica.
“We don’t have any mountains that compare to the Alps or Pyrenees in Yorkshire, but we do have hills,” Mr Verity said.
“The second stage will have nine climbs, and we’re told it will be one of the hardest opening stages of the Tour for 40 years. There is a total of 3,000 metres of ascent.”
Peter Dodd, Welcome to Yorkshire commercial director, said:
“Many of the towns and villages on the route are looking at how they can make it into a week or a three-day experience.
“The race will pass through one day but on the other days there will be all sorts of festivals and live events going on.
“They all want to become a small part of France during the summer of 2014. People are really starting to realise that this is a big opportunity.
“The world’s greatest free sporting event is coming right through your town or village.”