The Tour de France’s director Christian Prudhomme has tipped sprint star Mark Cavendish for a dramatic win in his mother’s home town of Harrogate.
M. Prudhomme visited Harrogate on Friday, January 18 – the day after the route was announced with a sprint finish planned for the centre of town.
He said: “We weren’t thinking of Cavendish when we planned the route through Harrogate, but if he wins the sprint I will be pleased.
“It is very rare that Mark comes second or third – he’s either first or he’s 50th, and I don’t think he’ll be trying to be 50th in Harrogate.”
The Tour team met Harrogate council officials and council leader Coun Anthony Alton at Bettys in the town to start planning for the event.
He spoke of the warm welcome and enthusiam they had seen in meetings across Yorkshire, and hinted at future trips to the county to take in East Coast – left out of the 2014 Grand Depart route.
“When we visited Yorkshire in May we flew to Scarborough, and it was gorgeous. We though we would definitely have a stage there.
“But the tour is huge and we had difficulties finding a finish line that was big enough for us.
“I can understand that people are disappointed and I can’t say we will be back in two or three years, because that’s not true, but we have hopes for the future.”
The Tour cannot stay out of France for more than two or three when it is in the north of Europe, he added, to allow time for the riders to travel all the way to the south of France for the Pyrenean stages.