Tourist bodies bang the drum for Scotland's Tour de France bid
Yorkshire may have the French President but Scotland has British Cycling
Yorkshire may have the French President being 'very supportive' of its bid to host the 2016 Tour de France Grand Depart, but Scotland has rolled out some big guns of its own in support of its bid to bring the 2017 Tour de France to the UK, starting in Scotland. Obviously.
Scotland and Yorkshire may want to bring the Tour to these shores in different years but there is no doubt that they are in competition - the only country the Tour de France visits two years on the trot is France. Scotland's bid was today supported by two major tourism bodies, Visit Britain and Visit Scotland. The events arm of the latter, EventScotland is mounting the Scottish bid in partnership with British Cycling given that, and the fact that the focus of the bid is Scotland it would be more newsworthy if VisitScotland didn't back Scotland for the Grand Depart. However they can't be blamed for wanting to keep their bid in the media spotlight.
Scotland's bid is more ambitious in scale than the Yorkshire aiming to host three stages to Yorkshire's two keeping the Tour in Britain for as long as possible. Starting with the prologue in Edinburgh the race would then mov south, through Scotland and in to Northern England.
While Yorkshire has seemed to be making the running of late with its Back Le Bid campaign attracting 150,000 signatures, advertisements in L'Equipe during the Tour, plus a delegation to the race start, the fact that the Scottish bid is backed by British Cycling and that the race has never been to Scotland makes it a very strong proposition. Tour organisers, ASO have already visited Edinburgh to hear more details about the bid and may well be attracted by its ambition.
Supporting the Scottish bid Sandie Dawe, Chief Executive of VisitBritain said:
"A route that stretches throughout Britain would allow the associated economic benefits to be spread across the country, while giving as many people as possible the opportunity to see and interact with this global sporting event. When London hosted the Grand Depart in 2007 it was a huge success, and there is no doubt that the current level of British passion and excitement for the sport would make the event unmissable if it was to return.”
While British cycling fans and the wider public will no doubt be hugely excited if either bid wins there will also be many that will question why it is that the two British bids don't simply settle on a mutually agreeable year and combine, Yorkshire after all isn't that far from Scotland and both face stiff competition from other European cities to host the start of the world's greatest cycle race.