Efforts to bring the start of the 2017 Tour de France to Scotland and England have kicked up a notch. EventScotland, working with British Cycling and UK Sport, is developing a proposal to host the race, “with the overall aim of keeping the Tour in the UK for as long as possible.”
The basic plan is to hold the first stage in Edinburgh before heading south for several stages in England and Wales, according to EventScotland.
The Scottish government is supporting the proposal. “Scotland has a strong relationship with the international cycling community, and I am delighted that a proposal is being developed for the opening stages of the Tour de France,” said First Minister the Rt. Hon. Alex Salmond MSP. “To bring such a fantastic event to Scotland would be a huge coup, but we have a strong track record and I know that the country has a huge amount to offer ASO and the cyclists taking part.”
Ian Drake, CEO of British cycling said that “The last visit to Britain by the Tour de France was a great success for all involved and is still held in very high regard by those riders that took part. British Cycling has embraced the opportunity to work with Scotland, helping them to full fill their ambition of bringing the Grand Depart to Edinburgh.”
Simon Morton, Director of Major Events and International Relations at UK Sport, said: “Our ambition after the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is to attract some of the world’s most prestigious sporting events to the UK and cement our position as one of the world’s leading host nations.”
“The Tour de France is a spectacular competition, and would provide a fantastic opportunity to engage the British public in the sport, so we welcome the opportunity to work with EventScotland and British Cycling to look at bringing the opening stages to the UK in 2017.”
The Tour has started in England three times, in 1974, 1994 and 2007. Yorkshire has also bid to host the Tour in 2016.