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Scotland to present formal bid for 2017 Tour de France Grand Départ

Edinburgh and Glasgow both in frame as EventScotland bost confirms talks held with ASO

Efforts to bring the Grand Départ of the Tour de France to Scotland are being stepped up with EventScotland confirming that it is working on a formal bid to be presented to race organisers ASO with a view to staging the start of the race in 2017.

As reported here on during last July’s edition of the Tour de France, representatives of Scotland’s national events agency have been in discussions with ASO for some time regarding the country hosting the showpiece sporting event of its partner in the ‘Auld Alliance,’ with Garmin-Cervélo’s David Millar potentially lined up as bid ambassador.

Now, the newspaper Scotland on Sunday reports that EventScotland has targeted the 2017 edition of the race, which it says represents the next opportunity for a foreign country to bid to host the start of race, which begins in Liège, Belgium in 2012 and is almost certain to start on Corsica in 2013.

Having said that, as we reported earlier this month, Florence is hoping to stage the Grand Départ in 2014, but even if the Tuscan city won the right to do that, it shouldn’t preclude a bid from Scotland to host it three years later – that’s the same gap between London staging the Prologue in 2007 and Rotterdam doing so last year.


As to where the race might visit in Scotland, Edinburgh and Glasgow would be likely for the chance to host any Prologue – the capital’s Royal Mile and Princes Street in particular would provide an obvious and visually stunning circuit – but given the distance between the two cities, you’d imagine there to be a stage starting in one and finishing in the other, perhaps visiting the Trossachs and skirting Loch Lomond on the way.

While there is obviously more of a logistical headache involved in starting the race in Scotland compared to the Low Countries or even South East England, location of 2007’s Grand Départ, the fact that the 1998 race began in Ireland shows that these are far from insurmountable.

Paul Bush, Chief Executive of EventScotland, confirmed to Scotland on Sunday that his organisation was working on a bid, saying: "We think the event is a natural fit for Scotland with the history of the Auld Alliance and we've already had three meetings with the race organisers about a possible bid.

"The event would have a huge impact if it was held here. The tour would probably be based in the host city for up to a week before the first stage started and the impact on the economy would be huge."

EventScotland has already succeeded in bringing the 2014 Commonwealth Games to Glasgow, and is looking to use that as a platform to bring further high-profile sporting and cultural events to the country.

Mr Bush added: "We want to position Scotland as one of the best locations in the world to host an event over the next few years.

"There are some events, like the Olympics or the World Cup, that Scotland will never be able to host but we are trying to bring more events and the building of the Scottish National Arena for the Commonwealth Games will make a huge difference in attracting major events."

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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miffed | 13 years ago

Id love the grand depart to visit Scotland, especially central Scotland. Seeing as the Tour of 'Britain' seems to focus mainly around England with the occasional foray into the very south of Scotland or just into Wales. Highlighting some of Scotlands great cycling would be amazing.

joules1975 replied to miffed | 13 years ago
miffed wrote:

Id love the grand depart to visit Scotland, especially central Scotland. Seeing as the Tour of 'Britain' seems to focus mainly around England with the occasional foray into the very south of Scotland or just into Wales. Highlighting some of Scotlands great cycling would be amazing.

Where the ToB goes is all about money and logistics. The reason it came to the Borders (and is returning again this year) is because the council and others stump up a load of cash to get it here. The same goes for Wales last year, and indeed any other town/area it passes through, with local organisations/bodies shelling out.

This also means that it is unlikely to go anywhere deemed as remote, as the people paying the money want decent exposure.

It's also the case that the teams/riders don't want the tour stages too spread out, as the last thing they want are lots of long journeys. The odd one or two is fine, but not after every stage.

As a result, the ToB tends to stay relatively central, which basically means England, with the occasional cross border raid.

As for the ToF, if it comes to Scotland, it will be mainly down to how much cash is paid to the organisers, and as a result is likely to stay within the Central belt, so as to get as much exposure for that cash as possible.

Oh, nearly forgot, the Scottish Borders has some of Scotlands great cycling!

TheHatter | 13 years ago

What happened to the idea that the tour would revisit London after the success of a few years ago? I seem to recall there was talk that London needed to stage a major ride in the year leading up to Olympics and the tour was a firm possibility.

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