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Zolder and Antwerp aiming to host Tour de France start

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The Tour de France Grand Depart 2012 will be in the Ardennes

The Tour de France Grand Depart 2012 will be in the Ardennes
(Image credit: ASO)
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 Lampre and Team Sky arrived early on the Liege square

Lampre and Team Sky arrived early on the Liege square
(Image credit: Brecht Decaluwé)
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The Palais des Congress in Paris awaits the press and riders for the 2011 Tour de France route presentation.

The Palais des Congress in Paris awaits the press and riders for the 2011 Tour de France route presentation.
(Image credit: Sonja Csury)

While Liège is set to host the Grand Départ of the Tour de France in 2012, two other Belgian locations are believed to be in the running for the same honour later in the decade. The Zolder race track, scene of the 2002 world championships, is planning to bid to host the start of the Tour, as is the city of Antwerp.

Koen Monu, organiser of the Zolder cyclo-cross, said that he has met with both the Zolder circuit director Thierry Flandre and representatives from Tour de France organisers ASO to discuss the possibility of bringing the race to Zolder.

“We wanted to know if the name and the fame of the circuit itself are strong enough for such an event to be assigned to it,” Monu told GVA.be. “If not, we will involve a large city that would carry more clout. I hope to find out the ASO’s attitude in this regard shortly.”

If the Zolder bid were successful, it is understood that the circuit would host a prologue and the opening road stage.

Meanwhile, Het Nieuwsblad reports that representatives from Antwerp have also met with the ASO in order to discuss a potential Tour de France Grand Départ. However, Antwerp will have to wait until at least 2018 to host the Tour as a number of other cities, both in France and elsewhere, have already expressed their desire to host the race. It has already been confirmed that the Tour will begin in Liège in 2012 and in Corsica in 2013.