Morning briefing: Edinburgh start for Tour de France moves closer to reality

EDINBURGH’S bid to host the start of the Tour de France was today said to be close to being approved by race organisers in Paris.

Brian Cookson, president of British Cycling, said he was optimistic cycling’s greatest race would come to Scotland possibly as early as 2014 or, if not, the following year.

After attending a special event in France where Tour organisers the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) unveiled the route for the 2013 event, Mr Cookson said: “The Scottish-led bid is in the advanced planning stages, and it is a very positive and well thought of bid. The funding is more or less in place and it is likely to happen. ASO have said they are likely to make up their minds in the next few weeks.

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“Although they haven’t given us an exact timescale yet, we believe the Tour de France will be coming back to Britain very soon indeed; 2015 is the most likely, but 2014 is possible.”

The last time the Tour visited Britain was in 2007, when two days of racing in London and Kent drew crowds of more than two million.

Cat found alive under bonnet

WHEN John Wilson opened the bonnet of his Vauxhall Omega, it is hard to know who was more relieved.

The painter and decorator who heard squeaking accompanied by a strange burning smell envisaged an expensive trip to the garage. But instead he found a happy to be liberated cat that had just survived an uncomfortably hot two-and-a-half mile journey.

The singed Persian cat, who has been named Penelope, is recovering from her ordeal while animal welfare workers bid to reunite her with her owners and retrace Mr Wilson’s journey to try to work out when she decided to hitch a ride.

Mr Wilson said that as well as noticing a slight burning smell, he heard cat cries after arriving at a job and turning off the engine.

Teenager was in “shock” after baseball attack

A TEENAGER accused of murdering his friend told another pal “I think I’ve killed Hancock” shortly after a fatal baseball attack, a court has heard.

Declan Mutch told the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday that Declan Robertson made the admission about killing 17-year-old Brett Lodge, whose nickname was Hancock.

The 19-year-old postman said that Robertson was with co-accused Bradley Lumsden when he bumped into them in the Inch and the pair looked “in shock”.

The court also heard that Mr Mutch gave police a statement that the pair looked “really pale” as if they had suffered a “right fright”.

Mr Mutch was giving evidence on the sixth day of the trial of Robertson, 17, Lumsden, 17, Andrew Parfinowski, 18, and Cameron McKail, 17.

The four teenagers all deny murdering Brett Lodge on July 9 last year and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by trying to hide evidence related to the alleged attack.

Mr Lodge later died from his injuries at the Western General on July 9 last year.

The trial before temporary judge John Morris QC