Four Stages Of The '14 Tour De France Could Be Held In Great Britain
Organizers of an "ambitious bid" to host four stages of the Tour de France across Great Britain in '14 are expected to find out if their plan is successful before Christmas, according to Robin Scott-Elliot of the London INDEPENDENT. There is "increasing confidence" among the bid's backers that Tour owner Amaury Sports Organisation will "favour the race returning to Britain" in the wake of Bradley Wiggins' win this year, the extraordinary growth of cycling in Britain and the success of the Olympics. The sight of "huge crowds" at both the road races and time trials during the London Games made "a positive impression" on ASO, as did the crowd that watched the torch relay across the country. British Cycling Dir Jonny Clay said, "The planned route would pass within one hour of 50% of the population" (INDEPENDENT, 11/18).
HEAD START: In London, William Fotheringham reported the joint bid from Scotland, Wales and England "looked to have gained a head start" over the other prospective host, Yorkshire, after British Cycling came out firmly in favor. Tour de France organizers could not be reached for comment, but "have always expressed enthusiastic support for the notion of returning to Britain." Organizers "tend to take the Tour start outside France in alternate years," and with the 2013 Centenary Tour held entirely on French soil, that "points to a possible foreign start in '14" (GUARDIAN, 11/17).
IT'S IN THE DETAILS: In Edinburgh, Richard Moore reported under the newly-revised proposals, Edinburgh, if successful, will "host a teams’ presentation" on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle on the eve of the Tour, and then the start of stage one – a road race that will take the riders south, with Newcastle and Dumfries both in the frame to host the stage finish. Typically, stage one commences on the first Saturday in July. A Scottish start "would see the Tour’s longest ever sojourn outside France" -- four days. Following a first stage from Edinburgh, further stages would visit Manchester, Wales and the south of England before the riders and their entourage -- around 4,000 people in total -- return to France. EventScotland Events Dir Stuart Turner said a successful bid would include payment to ASO estimated at “a round figure of around £10M ($15.8M)" (SCOTSMAN, 11/17). RTE noted should the bid succeed, '14 would be "a bumper year for sport in Scotland" with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Perthshire. Funding for the event would likely "come from the public purse" -- Scottish and Welsh governments, U.K. Sport and cities and towns which would stage the event -- with "further investigations into commercial contracts" should the bid be successful (RTE, 11/17).