Edinburgh prologue planned as part of Scotland's 2017 Tour de France bid
Road stages in Scotland and England also planned under proposals put to ASO
Edinburgh’s plans to stage the Grand Départ of the 2017 Tour de France are taking shape after organisers ASO visited the Scottish capital to hear proposals which include a prologue in the city followed by road stages through the Scottish Borders and into England, with the "overall aim of keeping the Tour in the UK for as long as possible."
The bid has been put together by Event Scotland in partnership with the Scottish Government, British Cycling and UK Sport, reports the Press Association.
Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond commented: "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."
Britain last hosted the Tour in 2007, with a prologue in London followed by a road stage from the capital to Canterbury in Kent, and British Cycling Chief Executive Ian Drake 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 fulfil their ambition of bringing the Grand Depart to Edinburgh,” he continued.
"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."
Yorkshire has also submitted a formal bid to host the start of the race, in its case for 2016, and with the Tour de France starting outside its home country’s borders every two or three years nowadays, it’s highly unlikely that the England and Scotland would stage Grand Départs in consecutive years.
This year’s Tour de France starts next month in Liege in Belgium, and other cities reportedly planning to bid to stage the Grand Depart in coming years include Barcelona.