Tour de France 2014 begins: Thousands gather to watch world's greatest cyclists race through Yorkshire

Up to 3 million people are expected to watch the British stages

Tour de France: Man who brought the Tour to Britain

Christian Prudhomme on why he is so pleased to be staging today’s Grand Départ in Yorkshire and how glad he is to return to London, where he made his bow as race director

Tour de France: Chris Froome in for bumpy ride as he tries to retain title

Form – his own and Contador’s – and the route stand in the champion’s way

Alpacas with their wool dyed in Tour jersey colours walk part of the route near Reeth in Yorkshire

Tour de France: Britain is no 'two-wheeled paradise', French journalists claim

Tour de France excitement may be reaching fever point in Yorkshire but the view of the preparations from the country that invented the race is laced with a characteristic froideur.

Tour de France 2014: Stage 2 preview with Chris Boardman

A look ahead to the 201km stage between York and Sheffield

Tour de France 2014: Stage 1 preview with Chris Boardman

A look ahead to the 190.5km stage between Leeds and Harrogate

Tour de France route 2014: Guide to British stages of Le Grand Tour

A guide to the Tour de France route as it returns to Britain for the first time in seven years

Tour de France 2014: Win a pair of tickets for the Tour de France finish line

Video: Win a pair of hospitality tickets at the Tour de France finish line: all you need is a bike and a camera

No Tour de France winner since 2006 has defended their title, a fact Chris Froome wants to fix

Tour de France 2014: Defending crown will be no walk in the park, says Chris Froome

No Tour winner since 2006 has defended their title

Marcel Kittel ended Mark Cavendish’s run of four consecutive Champs-Elysées victories last year

Tour de France 2014: Marcel Kittel waiting to capture Manx Missile’s sprint crown

When Marcel Kittel took part in the Giro d’Italia in Northern Ireland this May, the Belfast Telegraph namechecked the Giant-Shimano rider as “one of the top 10 things to watch out for in the race”. The Telegraph reasoned the 26-year-old sprinter’s handsome blond looks were sure to cause heads to turn – but  as it happened, Kittel did not need to rely on them to be the centre of attention.

Riders of the Sky cycling team parade in streets of Leeds

Tour de France arrives in Yorkshire ahead of Saturday's 'grand depart'

The people of Yorkshire got their first sight of the famous peloton tonight as the teams competing in Saturday’s grand depart of the Tour de France processed through the streets of Leeds.

Sheep painted in the colors of the Tour de France winners jerseys, graze in fields near Harrogate

Tour de France 2014: Sheep painted in colours of race jerseys to celebrate start of competition

The farmer who painted the sheep also laid out a yellow jersey-shaped flower bed ahead of the event

Tour de France 2014: Stage 3 preview with Chris Boardman

A look ahead to the 155km stage between Cambridge and London

Tour de France: UCI tightens doping controls ahead of the Tour

The Union Cyclist Internationale (UCI), professional cycling's governing body, has revealed plans to tighten up anti-doping controls at this year's Tour de France, which begins on Saturday 5 July in Leeds.

Chris Froome, Team Sky’s leader, says he has recovered from a fall last month

Tour de France 2014: I’m ready and fully recovered, claims Chris Froome

The Team Sky leader and defending champion remains as unflappable as ever

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