Antwerp in 2010 Tour stage bid

The Belgian city of Antwerp is still hopeful to host the start or the finish of a 2010 Tour de...

The Belgian city of Antwerp is still hopeful to host the start or the finish of a 2010 Tour de France stage. Officials of the race organiser visited the harbour town on Thursday, and although route decider Jean-François Pescheux was excited about the possibility, Antwerp may still only be seeing the riders pass through town without stopping.

"Pescheux was enthusiastic about our candidacy," said Camille Paulus, honorary governor of Antwerp to Het Laatste Nieuws. "But he thinks that the distance between the probable Tour start Rotterdam and Antwerp is too small for a whole stage. A passage is more realistic."

Rotterdam, together with Utrecht, is one of the two possible cities for the 2010 Grand Départ. Initially, the German city of Düsseldorf was also a candidate but it withdrew its bid in September.

"If there is no stage hosting in 2010, the city and the province remain an important possibility for a start or finish in the future," said Antwerp governor Cathy Berx. Indeed, Pescheux reportedly advised the city officials to think about hosting a Tour de France start in the future.

The Tour de France organiser ASO will announce the first stages of the 2010 event on December 15.

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