The tour has only visited England four times in its history.
1. 1974 – Plymouth
This was the first time that the Tour de France visited the UK and was in celebration of the nation’s entry into the common market. Riders traveled to Plymouth for the second stage of the race, which covered 164 km along the Plympton bypass. The stage was ultimately won by Dutch rider, Henk Poppe, but the event failed to draw the crowds due to its unappealing location.
2. 1994- Stage 4: Brighton to Dover, Stage 5: Portsmouth
20 Years after its first visit, the Tour ventured back onto English soil to mark the opening of the Channel Tunnel. The event was infinitely more successful than in 1974 with enthusiastic crowds turning out to show their support during stage four, which took place between Dover and Brighton and Stage 5, which began and concluded in Portsmouth. Despite having earned the yellow jersey in Lille as the result of an astonishing time-trial performance in the prologue, British rider, Chris Boardman was unable to reclaim the lead on home ground and the stage victories went to Spanish rider, Francisco Cabello and Nicola Minali of Italy respectively.
3. 2007- Prologue: London, Stage 1: London to Canterbury
2007 was the first time that the Tour would begin in England. The date of the Grand Depart coincided with the second anniversary of the 7/7 bombings and celebrated the resilience of the city and its people as huge crowds turned out to show their support for the event. The prologue saw Swiss rider, Fabian Cancellara claim victory in a 5 mile time trial around London and was followed by a first stage win for Australian, Robbie McEwen when the race journeyed from London to Canterbury.
4. 2014- Yorkshire Grand Depart
This year the Tour de France will be kicking off in Britain for the fourth time in its history and signifies the 20th time that the race has started outside of France. We will be lucky enough to host three race stages and excitement is already building as thousands of fans gear up to catch a glimpse of their cycling heroes on home soil as they take part in the world’s most historic cycle event. Setting off in Leeds on Saturday, 5th July, the riders will cover 546.5 km before stage three culminates in London on Monday, July 7th.