Traditionally what is known as the ‘team presentation’ became the ‘opening ceremony’ of the Tour de France in Yorkshire. The new Leeds Arena was the destination for thousands of cycling fans who wanted to catch a glimpse of the riders who will start the 101st edition of the big race this coming Saturday.
Of the 198 riders who were presented to the public, 197 know that they have a place in the peloton of the 2014 Tour… but one man nominated by his team to be one of the leaders remains in doubt. Michael Matthews crashed on Tuesday just after his final effort of his final training ride before his anticipated Tour debut; he was on stage along with his Orica-GreenEdge team-mates but he’s not yet sure if he’ll be part of the line-up of the Australian team. “This morning I’d have said my chances were 10 percent,” he told RIDE backstage of the opening ceremony. “Now it’s about 40 percent… but we’ll see if that increases tomorrow and decide around lunch time what to do.”
We’ll be posting several interviews from the evening in the coming days, in the meanwhile here is a gallery of images from a spectacular night in Leeds. (Click the image below to begin the slideshow.)