Partners Unite to Develop UK Proposal for 2017 Tour De France

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Posted on:17th May 2012

Partners Unite to Develop UK Proposal for 2017 Tour De France

EventScotland has today (16th May) announced details of plans to work with British Cycling and UK Sport to develop a proposal to host the opening stages of the 2017 Tour de France. The proposal builds on work carried out by EventScotland over the last few years and aims to engage with as many partners as possible and make a significant contribution to the ongoing story of the Tour, while delivering the maximum possible impact for the UK.

The Tour de France is one of the World’s largest annual sporting events, and the benefits to its host are paramount to a UK bid. The Tour is watched by around two billion people every year, with around two million lining the streets for the opening stage. Contested by around 200 cyclists including the greatest road-riders in the world, the Tour de France offers a great opportunity to host a truly global sporting spectacle.

Discussions are ongoing between the UK partners and Tour organisers, Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), and a very positive working relationship has been established. A number of options have been considered with the overall aim of keeping the Tour in the UK for as long as possible, while providing an exciting racing experience for riders, teams and spectators alike. Now the more formal process of working together to develop a proposal and engage with partners is underway.

Details about the route are yet to be decided, although the aspiration is to have the Grand Depart in Edinburgh, before heading south. Local authorities in England and Wales have already been approached regarding the Tour, and discussions will take place over the remainder of 2012 to create a unique proposal. The Tour riders and team’s interests will be central to any decision around the final route, with a strong desire to present a proposal that is both spectacular and challenging.

The Tour was last in the UK in 2007, when London and Kent played host to a fantastic Grand Depart and opening stages. Following the 2012 Olympic Games and the 2014 Commonwealth Games, hosting the early stages of the Tour would present another opportunity for the UK to host a ‘mega event’ of the type that transcends traditional sporting audiences and provides another platform for the continued development of the sport through inspiration and legacy.

The proposal has the full backing of the Scottish Government, with First Minister the Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP saying: “Scotland has a strong relationship with the international cycling community, and I am delighted that a proposal is being developed for the opening stages of the Tour de France. To bring such a fantastic event to Scotland would be a huge coup, but we have a strong track record and I know that the country has a huge amount to offer ASO and the cyclists taking part. The Scottish Government is committed to supporting major international events, and I have no doubt that the combined expertise of the UK partners would lead to a first-class opening stage of the Tour.”

In support of the ambition to bring this globally renowned cycling race back to Great Britain, Ian Drake – CEO of British Cycling – said: “The last visit to Britain by the Tour de France was a great success for all involved and is still held in very high regard by those riders that took part. British Cycling has embraced the opportunity to work with Scotland, helping them to full fill their ambition of bringing the Grand Depart to Edinburgh. British Cycling has identified bringing the Tour de France to Great Britain as a key part of its Major Event Strategy and we will do all we can to work with proactive partners to encourage ASO to choose Great Britain as a host venue and to encourage them to keep their amazing race on our shores for as many stages as possible.”

UK Sport is the lead agency responsible for securing major sporting events across the UK, and having delivered a programme of over 100 events across 35 towns and cities in preparation for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, their expertise will be invaluable in supporting EventScotland to shape a UK proposal.

Simon Morton, Director of Major Events and International Relations at UK Sport, said: “Our ambition after the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is to attract some of the world’s most prestigious sporting events to the UK and cement our position as one of the world’s leading host nations. We have already secured the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow and 2017 World Athletics Championships in London, to name a few.

“The Tour de France is a spectacular competition, and would provide a fantastic opportunity to engage the British public in the sport, so we welcome the opportunity to work with EventScotland and British Cycling to look at bringing the opening stages to the UK in 2017.”

Scotland has strong track record in the delivery of major cycling events, including the Tour of Britain (ToB), which has been supported by EventScotland since 2005. Scotland is the perfect stage for major cycling events, with spectacular scenery and challenging terrains providing the ideal backdrop to the action. Since its inception in 2003, EventScotland has invested over £1.5m in cycling events including the ToB, UCI Mountain Bike World Cup and the Halfords Tour Series.