Council bid to bring Tour de France to Edinburgh

Mark Cavendish wins during a previous Tour of Britain leg between Jedburgh and Dumfries. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Mark Cavendish wins during a previous Tour of Britain leg between Jedburgh and Dumfries. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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A £225,000 deal to stage two 2015 Tour of Britain cycling events in Edinburgh is being struck with a long term view of wooing Tour De France organisers.

The city’s Culture and Sport Committee will meet next Tuesday to agree a package of cycling events featuring some of the sport’s biggest stars including Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish.

Committee members will be asked to agree funding over three years towards the delivery of two stages of the Friends Life Tour of Britain and one Pearl Izumi Tour Series event.

It has been a long held wish of city leaders to host the Grand Depart of cycling’s biggest race the Tour De France - only narrowly losing out to Yorkshire this year.

If successful it would be the first time a race of such magnitude has come to Scotland - it is hoped to host the race in either 2018 or 2019.

The council will work with Tour of Britain organisers, Sweet Spot and EventScotland to identify a cycling route through the city with the castle esplanade sure to feature.

Steve Cardownie, the council’s events champion, said: “From the global exposure of Edinburgh’s cityscape and the boost to local businesses, to encouraging the take up of cycling in the city, the benefits of the event to Edinburgh would be clear to see.

“Edinburgh’s streets have staged many fantastic cycling events in recent years and we are always looking to welcome new events to the city. If the Tour of Britain should go ahead - and prove to be a success - I believe the council would be more than well equipped to bid with partners for part of the Tour de France.”

Paul Bush, chief operating officer for EventScotland, said: “Securing these events would be a fantastic boost to the city and continue to cement Scotland’s reputation as the perfect stage for major sporting events as we move beyond 2014.”

Full details of the 2015 Friends Life Tour of Britain will be announced at the national launch in the spring.