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Dutch looking out for Tour start

The Dutch mayors of the towns of Rotterdam and Utrecht have received Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme this week in their bid to host a Grand Départ of the Tour sometime in the future. Prudhomme arrived in the Netherlands on Tuesday, first visiting one of the biggest harbour cities in Europe, Rotterdam, and then travelled back to the small university town of Utrecht.

Both cities showed the Tour de France director possible locations for a prologue course of the Grand Tour, which could start in the Netherlands in 2010 or 2011 at the soonest (next year will see the Tour depart from Brest, and 2009 from Monaco). Although nothing was yet finalised, the Dutch lobbyists hope that their candidacy will be honoured soon. "We haven't heard anything concrete yet," said Hans den Oudendammer, director of Rotterdam Topsport to Dutch media. "That we should be patient. Lats July, we spoke to London mayor Ken Livingstone at the Tour start. He only had this advice, too: be patient."

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