Scotland in the hunt for 2017 Tour de France depart

Officials representing Edinburgh's bid to host the grand depart of the 2017 Tour de France were in Liège this weekend to step up their bid.

Representatives from EventScotland, British Cycling and UK Sport were looking to witness first hand what goes into staging the race, with Tour organisers ASO said to be impressed by initial plans of the path the race would follow.

Finer details of their proposal are still being ironed out, but the prologue would be staged in Edinburgh and take in landmarks such as Holyrood Palace, The Scottish Parliament, the Royal Mile and Arthur's Seat. Up to three further stages are in the pipeline, running not just through Edinburgh and Scotland but through the "spine of Britain".

The next steps will involve further engagement with local authorities throughout Britain, as well as key bodies from the world’s of cycling, business and tourism.

Stuart Turner, International Events Director for EventScotland said: “The experience in Liege this weekend was superb and has given us further insight into the running of the Grand Depart, which will ultimately contribute to our final plans. The most important thing for us is to develop a proposal that will deliver a spectacular bike race for ASO and most importantly the riders, and I am confident that the combined experience and knowledge of the partners involved will achieve that. It would be unprecedented for Britain to host an international event which reached so much of the country and so many people."

The plans may be complicated by Yorkshire submitting plans to host the opening stages in 2016. Their formal bid was announced in March this year and the odds of Britain getting the grand depart two years on the trot are long. Should either get the nod, it would be first time the race had visited British roads since 2007.

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