Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Britons among Top Dogs as Tour Set for Yorkshire Start; CYCLING

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Britons among Top Dogs as Tour Set for Yorkshire Start; CYCLING

Article excerpt

THE TOUR de France hits the streets of Leeds tonight as anticipation builds for a race where two Britons will be among the main protagonists.

Defending champion Chris Froome (Team Sky) and 25-time stage winner Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) will be among 198 riders setting off from the University of Leeds to roll to Leeds Arena for the offi-cial presentation ahead of the start on Saturday.

The first stage is a circuitous 190 km route to nearby Harrogate and Cavendish will hope to win the stage - a 26th stage in his Tour career - to take the race leader's jersey for the first time.

With the early stages often nervous, Froome's initial objective is to stay out of trouble and build a platform to attack in Paris on July 27 his target.

Sunday's second stage from York to Sheffield could see time gaps appear ahead of an expected sprint finish.

And Monday's third stage winds from Cambridge to London.

Froome and his Team Sky colleagues hope to be well placed when the action switches to the cobbled streets of Northern France where costly punctures are common. …

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