With the route of the 2014 Tour de France set to be announced this Wednesday, October 23rd, Tour officials are already in panic mode.
In what is described as a massive scheduling error, the Tour de France will not begin with three stages in Yorkshire. Instead the three week grand tour will begin in Paris and end in England.
“We got things backwards and I cannot explain how this happened,” said a visibly shaken Christian Prudhoome, ASO chief and race director. “We had always planned a big surprise this year by reversing the route and beginning in Paris with a big finish in Yorkshire. However, somebody in our staff forgot to mark the correct dates.”
Embarrassed Tour officials are now scrambling to solve a logistical nightmare with the route presentation only three days away. “There is plenty of blame of go around, “said Prudhomme. “I can understand why certain staff members made the assumption that we always end in Paris but that was not the plan. The final stage of the 2014 Tour will run from Leeds to Harrogate.”
The sudden reversal has caught officials in Yorkshire off balance and reactions ran from disappointment to joy. “On one hand, yes, we were rather taken aback,” said Roger Figglesmythe, the mayor of Leeds. “Then we thought, well hang on, that means we get to end the biggest bike race in the world right here in Yorkshire. We’re tremendously honored.”
News that the iconic and traditional finish in Paris is now in doubt has shocked many people. “It is ridiculous, an absurdity and an affront to France,” said Michel Blaguer, editor the the French newspaper Le Monde. “It goes against history and sport and common sense. One struggles to comprehend how a meaningless dot on the map like Harrogate can replace the glory of Paris, the City of Lights.”
As rumors of the Yorkshire gaffe began to circulate, a number of high profile British riders have come out in support of a Leeds-to-Harrogate Tour de France finish. “I know I don’t fancy the cobbles and even those ones on the Champs Elysees can be rather tricky,” said defending Tour champion Chris Froome of Team Sky. “I would certainly approve of a smoother road in Harrogate.”
Bradley Wiggins, who won the 2012 edition of the Tour, has already come out in favor of a Yorkshire finish. “I think it’s brilliant. I was undecided on riding the Tour because it’s just a pain in the arse but this puts things in a different light. I will be there and I might even help Chris win if I’m in the mood,” said Wiggins.
It remains to be seen how Prudhomme and his ASO team will handle the Yorkshire scheduling disaster. At this moment in time, mere days before the unveiling of the route, nobody knows where the race will begin or end.