Barcelona bids for 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ, Scotland also in negotiations

Catalan capital has hosted race three times previously but faces competition from around Europe

by Simon_MacMichael   February 11, 2011  

Catedral de Barcelona. © Turisme de Barcelona : G. Foto .jpg

Tour de France organsisers ASO have stated that Barcelona has mounted a bid to host the Grand Départ of the 2014 Tour de France, and have also confirmed that Scotland is among other places also negotiating to host the start of the race, without specifying which year. Reports earlier this year suggested that EventScotland would be bidding to host the beginning of the 2017 race.

In a communication issued yesterday, organisers confirmed that the Mayor of Barcelona, Jordi Hereu, had officially presented the city’s bid for the 2014 race, and added that the fact the city had hosted the 1992 Olympic Games and the start of the 2005 Dakar Rally, also owned by ASO.

“All this makes the city a strong candidate,” said ASO, “but it will be facing competition from many foreign communities which have shown interest in organising the Grand Départ, including Scotland, the city of Florence and the Liguria region (Italy), the city of Salzburg and Tyrol (Austria), Utrecht (Netherlands) and Kraków (Poland).”

Barcelona has hosted the Tour de France three times, but never the Grand Départ, and indeed it was a Scot who took the race by the scruff of the neck the last time the Tour de France visited the Catalan capital.

On Stage 5 of the 2009 race, David Millar, who lives up the coast in Girona, put in a stunning solo breakaway in filthy weather that saw him ride ahead of the peloton through the wide streets of Barcelona, packed with fans, only to be caught on the slopes of Montjuic tantalisingly close to the finish, Thor Hushovd taking the win.

This July’s race gets under way on French soil in the Vendée, while next year sees a foreign Grand Départ, hosted by the Belgian city of Liège. The 2013 race, which will be the 100th edition, seems almost certain to begin in Corsica.