The 2015 Tour de France looks set to start in the Dutch city of Utrecht with local officials already working hard to secure the 10 million Euro budget needed to host the Grand Depart. It seems Utrecht has out bid other possible Grand Depart candidates, including Venice in Italy.
Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad claims that multiple sources have confirmed that negotiations with Tour de France organiser ASO are close to signing the official agreement with a possible confirmation in November during a visit by Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme.
The route of the 2014 Tour de France route will be unveiled in Paris on Wednesday. The race starts in Yorkshire before traveling south to London and then on to France. The mayor of Utrecht Aleid Wolfsen is expected to be in Paris for the presentation.
Utrecht has been keen to host the start of the Tour de France for ten years. It was a prime candidate in 2005 but lost out to rival Dutch city Rotterdam. Utrecht would probably host the opening two stages of the Tour de France before the race heads to French soil via Belgium. This year's centenary edition of the Tour de France started in Corsica.
The Yorkshire Grand Depart is reported to have a budget of 14 million Euro, with an estimated 4.5 million Euro going to ASO. Utrecht believes 10 million will be enough in 2015.
Algemeen Dagblad reports that the Utrecht city council has promised five million Euro with a further 1.5 million Euro secured via business deals. The remaining 3.5 million will have to be found via sponsorship and local businesses.