The Yorkshire city of Leeds has a population of 500,000, making it the third largest in England. It used to be a major player in the wool-industry, nowadays they take pride in their University.
Leeds is twinned with the town of Lille in the north of France. In three days time, the first stage on the continent will finish in Lille.
Route of the stage
As the crow flies, Leeds and Harrogate are not that far apart. The peloton rides a 190 kilometre loop of Yorkshire however before they arrive at the finish line, . The stage is mainly flat but with two exceptions, the first being Buttertubs Pass, a 4.4 kilometre hill with a small section of 20%.
After the Buttertubs Pass riders descend to the hamlets of Reeth and Grinton, and then they face a long climb up to Robin Cross Hill. Again, this ascent is 4.4 kilometres and the steepest part is 17%.
But not to worry Mr Kittel and Mr Cavendish, upon cresting Robin Cross Hill, there are 46 kilometres to organise your sprint trains.
Harrogate is a small city with a population of 90,000. It has a booming tourism industry due the iron, sulphur and salt in the spring water earning it the nickname ‘The English Spa’.
It is a popular commuter-town, many people working in Leeds and Bradford live in Harrogate. A March 2013 study even revealed that Harrogate is the ‘happiest place’ in England.
And the happiest rider? Well, the stage win comes with a significant bonus of a yellow jersey. Kittel took those honours last year after ‘bus-gate’ caused pandemonium on the opening stage. Greipel will be in the mix too but surely Cavendish will be hungriest for a stage win in his homeland?
The stage begins at 13:00 CET and the finish is expected around 17:30.
Tour de France 2014 Stage 1: Images and more
Click on the images to zoom
How stage 1 was won in 2014
Buttertubs Pass at
Kidstones Bank at
How stage 1 was won in 2013