Bradley Wiggins and his cycling rivals will be hitting the hills and dales of Yorkshire in 2014 - beating off competition from Edinburgh to host the first British stage of the Tour since 2007.

Howarth, Yorkshire - home of the Bronte sisters (Getty)

Yorkshire will host the first two days of racing on 5 and 6 July before the Tour moves south for a third stage in southern England, with a finish in London.

A cycling and arts festival is also planned in Yorkshire.

Tourism in Yorkshire is worth £7bn annually and the county's industry employs almost a quarter of a million people.

But staging any part of the historic race is a huge economic prize.

Economic boost

The Tour de France attracts 12 million spectators along the route in a typical year's race. There are 1,200 hotel rooms reserved each night for the teams, staff, press and tour personnel.

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Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, the agency behind the county's bid for the Grand Depart stage of the cycling race, said: "Today is a proud day for everyone involved in the bid and the county as a whole.

"I am in no doubt they will come to Yorkshire in their millions, lining the length and breadth of the route to cheer on the champions of world cycling and our home-grown British heroes."

Leeds City Council leader Keith Wakefield said: "We are honoured that Leeds has been chosen to be the host city of the 2014 Grand Depart.

"Leeds has a proud racing and riding history so it will be wonderful to welcome the biggest cycle race of them all to the heart of our vibrant city centre, inspire a new generation of Yorkshire cyclists to compete on the world stage and leave a lasting cycling legacy for the city."

Some of cycling's biggest names we quick to react on Twitter to the news with triathlete Jonny Brownlee and road racer Lizzie Armitstead celebrating the decision in tweets.

British Cycling's president Brian Cookson said: "Like every other cycling fan, I am thrilled the world's biggest bike race is coming back to this country.

"The huge numbers who turned out to support the 2007 Grand Depart and the London 2012 road races show the passion we have for cycling.

"I'm sure Yorkshire will give the 2014 Tour de France a welcome which will stand out in the race's rich history."

The event will give tourism bosses the chance to show off some of the region's best known landmarks, which include York Minster, Castle Howard and Whitby Abbey.

On Twitter, Channel 4 News followers suggested that riders tackled some of Yorkshire's trickiest terrain, including the cliff-like Sutton Bank and "the hill that Compo went down in the bathtub" in the long running BBC comedy the Last of the Summer Wine.

The Twittersphere also proposed some Yorkshire-inspired names for the first stage from the Wallace and Gromit influenced Grand Day Out to the Tour t'Yorkshire.

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