The world’s largest annual sporting event will be returning to London after it was confirmed Yorkshire will host the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in 2014.

The county has won the race to host the start of the iconic cycling race, with the first two stages taking place in the north of England on July 5 and 6 before the competitors head south for the third stage, which will finish in the capital.

Further details of the Grand Depart will be announced on January 17 but this will be the second time Le Tour has visited London after the city hosted the start in 2007.

Race director Christian Prudhomme said: “Since the resounding success of the Grand Depart in London in 2007, we were very keen to return to the United Kingdom.

“Bradley Wiggins’ historical victory last July and the enormous crowds that followed the cycling events in the streets of London during the Olympic Games encouraged us to go back than we had initially planned.”