Tour de France start in Edinburgh moves closer

Edinburgh is set to vote on a bid to hold the start of the Tour de France, with the race making its first start in Scotland possibly as soon as 2014, with its chances of getting the nod from race organisers said to be very good.The start in the Scottish capital would be followed by three days of racing throughout the UK.

The City Council is scheduled to vote on the plan this coming Thursday. The team presentation would be held at Edinburgh Castle, with a show ride by the peloton throughout the city centre the day before the start, which would be held on the city outskirts.

According to the council, holding the start could be worth £45-55 million to the local economy, the BBC reported.

Councillor Steve Cardownie "I can think of no more dramatic backdrop than Edinburgh Castle and our historic Old Town and, of course, our residents are well used to laying on a fantastic welcome to the many millions of visitors that travel to the city each year.”

The city is the home of another cycling champion. “Of course, Edinburgh is no stranger to cycling success, thanks to the incredible achievements of Sir Chris Hoy, and we are already seeing the impact this is having on participation, a trend that would surely continue following a successful Grand Depart,” Cardownie said.

Great Britain is the most likely to host the 2014 start, Het Nieuwsblad said. Utrecht and Lille had also expressed interest, but are said to no longer be considered top candidates. The city of Ypres, France, hopes for a stage start in honour of the 100th anniversary of World War I.

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