The Tour de France 2014 begins today in the delightful Yorkshire Dales, showing off to TV audiences throughout Europe a landscape full of lush valleys and picturesque villages many will never have heard of before.
Yorkshire folk are famous for their pride in their origins and 10,000 turned out at Leeds Arena to mark the occasion. There was thunderous applause for Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme, when he referred to Yorkshire as "God's county" and praised its stunning scenery. He will be invited back. Meanwhile, Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity, who secured the Grand Depart for the county, has acquired hero status.
This is the furthest north that the Tour has ever been, but why stop there? A Grand Depart from Scotland (which missed out this time) would be a spectacular occasion: the sight of the world's top cyclists wending their way from gorgeous Tweeddale through rugged Northumberland and over the ridge topped by Hadrian's Wall must surely be on the cards soon.
And as cycling becomes ever more popular across the UK, is it not time for a full tour of Scotland anyway?
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