Embrace to headline Grand Depart opening ceremony

An artist's impression of the opening ceremony.
An artist's impression of the opening ceremony.

Brighouse band Embrace will headline a spectacular opening ceremony and team presentation for this year’s Tour de France at the Leeds Arena.

Defending champion Chris Froome and sprint sensation Mark Cavendish will be among top cycling stars to greet the crowd on July 3, as Yorkshire welcomes 22 of the world’s best cycling teams in a glittering ceremony showcasing some of the county’s top entertainment talent.

It will be Embrace’s first arena gig since their recent sell-out comeback tour and album. Their latest album went straight into the national album chart at number five.

Frontman Danny McNamara said: “It’s going to be amazing, to have one of the biggest annual sporting events in the world coming to our back yard and to be part of it is nothing short of massive, we’re really looking forward to it.”

Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh will join York singer/songwriter Alistair Griffin on stage to perform the track he wrote called The Road – the official anthem of Yorkshire’s Grand Départ 2014.

Executive producer Martin Green, who was Head of Ceremonies at the London 2012 Olympics, said: “We’re breaking new ground here for the Tour de France with this ambitious show - it’s something much bigger and completely new to the cycling world. With the theme of the event The People of Yorkshire Welcome the World, this will give the riders the entrance they deserve as the Yorkshire Grand Départ celebrations begin.”

Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “We know how enthusiastic millions of people are to make sure they get a chance to be part of the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire and their first opportunity will be at the Opening Ceremony and Team Presentation on Thursday July 3. Thousands of people will be able to see up close and hear from these cycling stars, witnessing a moment in history and making the Tour’s arrival an unforgettable experience.”

The show will be broadcast around the world, with a special programme in the UK on ITV 4.

Tickets for the not-for-profit event start at £45 upwards (all the highest priced £85 tickets sold out in minutes) and are available at www.letouryorkshire.com/tickets by phone on 0844 248 1585 or from the box office in Trinity Leeds shopping centre where no booking fee applies.