Denmark is bidding to host the Grand Depart of the 2018 Tour de France, Denmark TV2 reported today. The offer is being taken seriously by Tour director Christian Prudhomme, who is set to travel to Denmark to meet with prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen later this month.
Should the Tour de France organisers Amaury Sport Organisation not accept this bid, the local organisers are ready to resubmit the bid for 2019 or 2020.
The organisers are offering a reported 90 million kroner, or approximately €12 million to host three stages. They propose a prologue in Copenhagen followed by a road stage from Roskilde to Odense that would traverse the Great Belt Bridge, and a third stage from Vejle to Sønderborg.
The Grand Tour organisers have been expanding their territory outside of the host country more and more in recent years as they seek to draw a wider audience. The Tour de France has started outside France 21 times in its history - the first time in Amsterdam in 1954 - but 10 of those foreign starts have been in the past 20 years.
The first Grand Tour to start in Denmark was the Giro d'Italia in 2012, when it started in Herning. The first rest day came after stage 3, and riders had to race 12 straight stages before taking another rest day. Ryder Hesjedal won the Giro that year.
The 2014 Giro d'Italia started in Northern Ireland and was granted permission from the UCI to include three rest days to help make up for the extra travel.