1. ITV Report

Countdown to the Tour: New cycle race to leave legacy

Yorkshire's hosting of this summer's Tour de France Grand Depart will leave a lasting legacy with the news that the county is to host a new annual international cycle race beginning in May next year.

Gary Verity, CEO of Welcome to Yorkshire, made the announcement at a show in Harrogate to mark 100 days to the start of the historic race on July 5, the first stage of which will finish in the town.

Gary Verity (left) with Tour organiser Christian Prudhomme Credit: Press Association

Welcome to Yorkshire will work with both British Cycling and Tour de France organisers ASO to deliver the new race, in which it is envisaged that most of the world's elite cyclists will compete.

Verity said: "We have signed a memorandum of understanding with British Cycling and ASO to launch a new international bike race in Yorkshire from May 2015 onwards.

"It will be three days of cycling right the way across the county, in places that missed out on the Tour this time round such as the coast and Ryedale.

"We are very excited about having an ongoing international bike race working with the best organised bike race in the world, and with British Cycling who are great sporting body.

"We have always said that the Tour de France is the start of this journey, not the end of it. We want to have more cycling events of all types and anything we can do to facilitate that is something we are going to commit to."

Verity also revealed that Dutch team Giant-Shimano have indicated they will do their level best to wreck the dream of the Isle of Man's Mark Cavendish - whose mother lives in Harrogate - ending the first stage of the Tour in the yellow jersey.

Mark Cavendish Credit: Press Association

Verity said: "The first stage is designed for a sprinter to win and clearly Mark Cavendish is the greatest sprinter in the history of the Tour and his mum is from Harrogate, so if you like the romance he would be your favourite to win.

"But Marcel Kittel will have something to say about that and his Giant-Shimano team are coming over to do a recce of the stage in the next couple of weeks and they have told me they are targeting the Harrogate stage.

"I am sure Marcel Kittel would like nothing better to get one over his arch-rival in Harrogate, so a win for Cavendish is not a shoo-in by any means.

But July 5 is also the Isle of Man's national day, which is another good thing if you believe in omens."

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