|BELKIN PRO CYCLING||BEL||14:12:21|
First time stage town – 751 500 inhabitants
Leeds was an important stronghold of the textile industry. After the wool that was woven there, the fabric of the Yellow Jersey will mobilise the attention of the riders. Until now, the sports fanatics would mainly be stirred by the white and blue colours of Leeds United, Premiere league champions back in 1992 thanks to the help of Monsieur Eric Cantona. Well before that, the city was the birth place of one of the pioneers of women's cycling: back in the sixties, Beryl Burton indeed claimed seven World titles (track and road).
First time stage town – 73 000 inhabitants
A newcomer on the map of the race, Harrogate can consider itself as indirectly tied to the Tour. The town is indeed linked to Bagnères-de-Luchon, one of the most visited cities of the Pyrenees… since 1910. Like its distant associate, Harrogate owes its development to the thermal industry. It also has experience in terms of cycling as a regular stage city of the Milk Race, the forerunner of the Tour of Britain. Before becoming an impressive stage winner on the Tour de France, Djamolidine Abdoujaparov had triumphed in Harrogate during the 1986 edition.