Leeds Arena hosts Tour de France opening ceremony

Leeds Arena
Image caption More than 10,000 people attended the opening ceremony at Leeds Arena

Participants in the Tour de France have paraded through the centre of Leeds and taken part in the opening ceremony.

Large crowds lined the route as all 198 riders travelled from Leeds University through the city centre to the arena.

The opening ceremony featured performances by Embrace, Opera North and Girls Aloud's Kimberley Walsh.

The event also featured a presentation of all 22 teams taking part in the race.

Defending champion Chris Froome, who received loud cheers as he rode into the arena, said: "It is the biggest event for us. I can't say how special it is to come back here as the defending champion."

Martin Green, executive producer of the ceremony, said: "We have about 200 performers and a further 300 people on video really saying the people of Yorkshire welcome the world.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Riders rode through the city centre on their way to the opening ceremony
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Defending Champion Chris Froome received huge cheers from the 10,000 strong crowd when he arrived at the Arena
Image caption Kimberley Walsh and Alistair Griffin performed the official anthem for the race in Yorkshire during the ceremony

"We have really tried to raise the bar on how the Tour de France starts."

The Tour de France begins in Leeds on Saturday.

The first stage runs from Leeds to Harrogate with a second stage from York to Sheffield on Sunday.

A third stage, from Cambridge to London, will take place on Monday.

Are you in Yorkshire? Will you be the marking the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire? Please share your comments with us. You can email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk using the subject line 'Tour de France'.

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