While the cycling world focuses on Liège-Bastogne- Liège this weekend, the city is looking a little further into the future. According to a report in Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, the Belgian is bidding to host a finish of the 2015 Tour de France.
With next season’s race starting Utrecht, The Netherlands a quick diversion into Belgium is a possibility. The report states that a number of Flemish cities are also going up against Liège, including Antwerp and Middelkerke. This year’s race also sees a brief diversion into Belgium, with the potentially crucial stage five starting in Ypres.
Liège has a long relationship with France’s national race. Organisers Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.), the Tour de France organisers, also organise Liège-Bastogne- Liège. The city has hosted the race’s Grand Départ twice before, in 2004 and 2012. Fabian Cancellara won his first Tour de France stage in the city and took the win when it returned for its second start.
The first time Liège featured in the Tour de France was as a stage finish in 1948 where Gino Bartali beat Jean Robic and Briek Schotte, from a small breakaway group, en route to winning the general classification, ahead of Schotte.
A.S.O. has already announced the opening stages of the 2015 race. Next year’s edition will start with a 13.7 kilometre time trial, it’s the first time since 2009 that the race will begin with a non-prologue time trial. The details of stage 2 haven’t been fully revealed although it will in Utrecht. The 2015 race begins on July 4.
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