Yorkshire’s Tour will restore entente cordiale

From: Keith Jowett, Woodland Rise, Silkstone Common, Barnsley.

Full of Yorkshire pride when I first heard that Le Grand Départ of the 2014 Tour de France was to be in Leeds, I contacted a French friend, who is a keen cyclist, with the news.

His instant response was that this information was a joke on my part. Following last week’s publication of the detailed route, I again contacted my friend via his Facebook page. There he had posted a map of the full route, taking in England, Belgium and, of course, France. Almost immediately after posting the map, comments from French followers of Facebook began to flood in. Since my friend lives in the Vendée in western France, most of the comments originated from his friends in that region.

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There was lots of strong invective, deploring the fact that western France and Brittany had no stages of the Tour, which will concentrate on eastern France and the Pyrénées.

Much of the criticism centred on the fact that the three first stages were to take place in England, of all places.

One correspondent said that Yorkshire was just as remote as Australia or Argentina to him.

Next year I hope to watch the Tour for the first time as it passes only a few miles from my home.

I hope the TV pictures of the magnificent Yorkshire scenery will convince our French neighbours that a wise choice was made for this spectacular event.

My village is twinned with a village in the Vendée so we will be doing our part in flying the flag for Yorkshire in St Florent des Bois in 2014.