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Cycling: Tour de France returns to England

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: July 03, 2014

Team Sky riders preparing for this year's Tour de France

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The Tour de France returns to the UK on Saturday, seven years after it last visited these shores.

The first two stages of the 2014 Tour start and finish in Yorkshire.

The first stage will see the riders navigate a 190km route from Leeds to Harrogate. This is a stage that will excite the sprinters of the tour, who are battling it out for the green jersey.

The key men to look out for during stage one will be Britain’s Mark Cavendish of Omega-Pharma Quickstep, Germany’s Marcel Kittel of Giant-Shimano and Slovakian Peter Sagan of Cannondale, who was victorious in last year’s green jersey classification.

The second stage, which makes it’s way from York to Sheffield, is a stage more suited to the climbers.

The stage peaks at Holme Moss, which is one of the most iconic climbs in the UK, it has featured on most major cycle races since the 1950s.

The key men to watch during this stage will be reigning champion, Britain’s Chris Froome of Team Sky, this year’s Giro d’Italia winner, Colombia’s Nairo Quintana of Movistar, and Spain’s Alberto Contador of Tinkoff-Saxo.

This stage could be the first indication to who is going to win the Tour, it will almost certainly be the first chance for the contenders to properly flex their muscles on the climbs.

The third and final stage before the Tour returns to France will take place in the south of England, from Cambridge to London. This stage is another for the sprinters.

Britain’s part of hosting this tour will finish on the Mall, which is iconic for being the finish line of the London marathon.

The Mall was also the finish line for the London 2012 Olympic road race, where after much media and national expectation Mark Cavendish and his team were unable to win a medal for Team GB.

This is why he is the single key man to watch during this stage because he is surely going to be determined to atone for that performance at the 2012 Olympics.

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