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Scotland could soon host Tour de France stages after "successful" World Championships

After its 11-day cycling extravaganza, Scotland Cycling’s chief is targeting the most famous cycling race of the calendar

Scotland Cycling's chief executive Nick Rennie has said that he's hopeful of the Tour de France coming to Scotland soon, after the country played a successful host to the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, the first-of-its-kind cycling championship in history, combining 13 disciplines with over 200 events in the past two weeks.

It's being widely regarded as the biggest cycling event in the history, with more than 500,000 fans having attended it, and many describing it as a "celebration of the sport". So after such glowing appraisals, the next step, according to Rennie, is to bring the most famous event in cycling to the country.

He said: "There are a lot of conversations which are hugely exciting - even something as huge as the Tour de France might be an option for a few stages. I hope that the success of this huge event will just further raise the credibility of Scotland as a fantastic venue for cycling events.

"This is the biggest event, but Scotland has a great heritage and track record of hosting World Championships and World Cups in cycling. It takes a long time to put the packages together and convince the decision makers they should go with Scotland."

"Fingers crossed, I'm sure in the next few weeks we'll hear some announcements," he added, according to the BBC.

> UK government confirms bid for 2026 Tour de France Grand Départ

Was Glasgow 2023 successful?

The event, primarily taking place in Glasgow, but also in places such as Stirling and the Glentress Forest, was the largest championships held in a region at the same time, with more than 8,000 cyclists from 151 nations taking part, and over 200 new champions being crowned with rainbow jerseys.

Belgian fans, 2023 worlds, Glasgow ( Zac Williams/SWpix.com)

Belgian fans, 2023 worlds, Glasgow ( Zac Williams/SWpix.com)

We asked road.cc readers how they felt about the championships on the live blog yesterday, and the answers were glowingly positive — including being called a "great success" and a "fantastic experience".  

And while Rennie said that he's hoping to bring the Tour de France to the Scottish lands, for Michael Matthews, a veteran of the peloton from Down Under, this Worlds already felt like one.

> “It felt like the Tour de France”: Have Scotland’s world championships been a success? We ask the riders, fans, and locals

"It was truly special. Obviously the UK has a massive cycling following. But honestly I didn’t expect this. The road race felt like I was in the Tour de France, or in Belgium or in Holland, where cyclists are gods," the Jayco AlUla rider told road.cc.

He added: "We were treated to a very special race. Everyone had goosebumps when we entered the circuit. Even before the circuit, all through the towns, you could just see the kids really enjoying us riding past.

"You could just feel the love, and that’s truly special. With the amount of negative things you see on social media these days – and you try to black it out obviously – but once the race started, having the fans cheering us on made the race even more special than just being another world championships."

2023 world road race championships, Glasgow (Thomas Maheux/SWpix.com)

2023 world road race championships, Glasgow (Thomas Maheux/SWpix.com)

And not just Matthews, the sentiment was corroborated by road.cc writer Ryan Mallon, who was present at the Championships: "Just walking around Glasgow, surrounded by banners advertising French constructions firms and giant inflatable bowls of fruit, there is a palpable sense, from this writer’s perspective anyway, that cycling has taken over Scotland’s largest city."

> “A few corners too many”: Riders react to claims that Glasgow city circuit was a “death race” and “designed in a pub” after Mathieu van der Poel wins epic battle

Visions for a Scottish Grand Départ in 2026

If it does end up happening, it wouldn't be the first time that Britain would act host to Le Tour. It has previously hosted stages from the 1994 Tour in Dover to Brighton and in Portsmouth, to mark the opening of the Channel Tunnel.

The Tour returned to London for its opening day time trial stage in 2007 and headed to Canterbury the next day, before hosting another Grand Départ in Leeds and the following two stages in Yorkshire.

Tour de France 2014, Leeds Grand Depart (Dean Atkins/SWpix.com)

Tour de France 2014 stage 1, Leeds (Dean Atkins/SWpix.com)

For the next year, it's confirmed that the Tour de France will see its riders setting out from Florence in the Tuscan region of Italy, while Rotterdam or the Hague seem poised to host the Grand Départ in 2025. Meanwhile, Rotterdam will also host the Tour de France Femmes next year.

Back in 2021, it was reported that Britain will bid to host the 2026 Tour de France Grand Départ, with stages expected to be in England, Scotland, and Wales and funding coming from the government to back the bid and cover organising costs, with then Chancellor Rishi Sunak allocating £30 million funding to prepare bids to hold the opening stages of the 2026 Tour de France and the 2025 Women's Rugby World Cup.

It would appear that the UCI President David Lappartient's vision of hosting a cycling "mini-Olympics" have been well and truly recognised in Glasgow. While the next edition — it's supposed to take place every four years, in the year preceding the Olympics — will be in Haute-Savoie in France, Scotland seems ready to host another cycling fete, only this time, the winner would take not the rainbow, but the yellow jersey.

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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Rik Mayals unde... | 9 months ago
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I think that Lancashire could host a great Grand depart. We have fantastic hills around here, Nick 'O Pendle, Boundary Hill, Birdy Brow, Lamb fell and Tatham. they could all be included in one single stage.

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Velophaart_95 | 9 months ago
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I'd much rather see the Giro's Grande Partenza than another TdF in the UK...

 

And regarding legacy, it seems the Glentress XC course has no future - so no future round of the XC MTB World Cup......which is disappointing when we have the current Olympic/World Champion, the U23 World champion, and a recent women's World champion.....

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Off the back | 9 months ago
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Id love to see a stage or two of the TdF in Scotland. There are so many routes that would be perfect for those early rolling stages you get in the first week. It has the scenery and the roads to make for an epic Grand Depart. 

Just ensure that it brings some kind of lasting legacy. Looking at all the cycling that was put Harrogate's way with the TdF then the world champs, the town has done SFA positive for cycling since. People still complain about the stray being churned up like it was a biblical event. Its a terribler place to ride. The area surrounding it - fantastic! Harrogate itself - appalling. 

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davecochrane | 9 months ago
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Absolutely delighted that my home city turned it on for this incredible event. I wish I'd been back to see it for myself. Some of the options for TdF stages are mindblowing and I really hope that happens. 

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IanEdward replied to davecochrane | 9 months ago
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And Stirling, and Perth, and Edinburgh, and Ft William, and Peebles 😉

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