London is reportedly looking to bring the Tour de France back to the UK for the third time in a decade. According to a report in the London Evening Standard, London transport bosses have already had preliminary talks with ASO to host the 2017 Grand Départ.
Yorkshire hosted the Grand Départ in 2014 to great acclaim with an estimated 3.5 million people turning out to watch the three days of racing. The final day, stage 3, which was won by Marcel Kittel, finished in the capital, while London has already hosted a Tour start back in 2007. The 2007 Grand Départ yielded a reported £123 million in just two days.
If the race did start in London it would be the fifth time that the race visited the country after brief visits during 1974 and 1994 Tours de France. London currently plays host to the RideLondon Classic, which was organised by SweetSpot off the back of the Olympic Games.There are also talks about bringing the World Championships to Yorkshire in 2018.
This year saw the inauguration of the three-day Tour de Yorkshire, which is a joint venture between Welcome Yorkshire and ASO. The potential return to UK shores demonstrates that ASO are keen to exploit the British market. The interest in cycling in the UK spiked after Bradley Wiggins became the first British rider to win the Tour de France in 2012.
The Tour de France will begin this July with its second consecutive foreign start in Utrecht. The 2016 race is expected to begin in France in the Normandy region of la Manche.
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