Tour de France could return to UK as soon as 2014 with Edinburgh Grand Depart

Race would head from Scottish capital to Channel ports via Wales

by Simon_MacMichael   October 25, 2012  

Edinburgh Nocturne - David Millar with Castle backdrop .jpg

The Tour de France could return to the UK as early as 2014 with a Grand Départ in Edinburgh followed by up to four road stages that would take the race through England and Wales then towards one of the Channel ports for the transfer back to France.

Race organisers ASO are expected to make a decision on the proposals by the end of this year, with the Scottish-led bid among the favourites to host the world’s biggest annual sporting event in either 2014 or 2015.

The bid is backed by British Cycling, whose president Brian Cookson was at yesterday’s presentation in Paris of the route of the 2013 Tour, which will be the 100th edition of the race and one played out entirely within France’s borders.

Nowadays, the race starts outisde France every two or three years and even when it doesn't, typically there will be a brief excursion into a neighbouring country.

Cookson was in the French capital to wave the flag for Edinburgh’s bid, which faces competition from cities such as Barcelona and, closer to home, the Yorkshire region, which has lobbied hard, including during this year’s Tour, to be given the chance to host the race but which does not have the backing of the national governing body.

“The Scottish-based bid is in the advanced planning stage but it is a very positive, well thought of bid,” said Cookson, quoted on “We believe the Tour de France will be coming back to Britain very soon. 2015 is the most likely but 2014 is possible.”

The race last visited the UK in 2007, when London hosted a spectacular prologue won by Fabian Cancellara ahead of a road stage from the capital to Canterbury, where David Millar spent much of the day on a solo break.

A crash and bike change 25 kilometres out meant Mark Cavendish, riding his first Tour, was unable to contest the finale – he’s made up for that since, with 23 stage wins to his name now – and Robbie McEwen took the sprint in the Kent cathedral city.

“The Grand Depart in London in 2007 is widely acknowledged as the best ever and we saw at the Olympics what kind of response the British public can produce,” Cookson continued.

“Britain will put on a really good show and ASO want to get back here when the time is right.

“The Scottish-based bid could be more than three stages because it is further from Scotland to the South East.

“You can speculate about the route. You start in Edinburgh and continue down the east side of Scotland, then you would think going down the east side of England and cutting across into Wales and then hopefully across to the South East.”

If Edinburgh were to host the start of the Tour in 2014, the Grand Départ would kick off a spectacular summer of sport for Scotland, with the Commonwealth Games starting in Glasgow towards the end of July.

9 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

When can I book my leave from work!! Absolutely fantastic if it happens?
If it does come to North Wales then its the Horseshoe pass, Llangollen and then there are some great roads and mountain passes in Snowdonia to do, or what about the road from Bala over the top to lake Vyrnwy. I could write for hours of were they should go but we will have to wait and see?

posted by 60kg lean keen ... [71 posts]
25th October 2012 - 11:10


...and the Tour of Britain starts in Paris...?

posted by izzi green [12 posts]
25th October 2012 - 11:38


I share your passion and sentiments my North Walian comrade. However, we can't even get the organisers of the ToB to see the virtues of our wonderful riding country,never mind the ASO. Oh and I believe you're referring to the Bwlch y Groes out the back of Bala.

Gelfft's picture

posted by Gelfft [2 posts]
25th October 2012 - 12:22


ARGH, why does no-one understand there are better rides in Scotland that just around the Capital Angry

Who fancies getting a camper-van and following it for a few days in the UK and then maybe France.....

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9361 posts]
25th October 2012 - 12:53


Time trial up the Lecht.

posted by iamelectron [160 posts]
25th October 2012 - 13:06


That would be fantastic, they should come down through the borders into Northumberland. Maybe the council will patch up some of the mooonscape roads in advance so we all benefit!

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [1112 posts]
25th October 2012 - 13:23


iamelectron wrote:
Time trial up the Lecht.

Either that or this

Over The Lecht, Glenshee and the Cairn'o'Mount in one stage Devil Devil

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9361 posts]
25th October 2012 - 13:45


I also know a bit of the North York’s Moors what about Rosedale Chimney and Sutton Bank they are both off the scale, I can feel the lactic acid flowing freely on those for the poor pro having to do these!!!! I did in the late 80s go with my Dad to Rosedale Chimney and watch the Kelloggs Tour burn there way up, and got within inches of my hero at the time Sean Yates. Perhaps if they get the go for sure then Road CC should lobby for that route in the UK is put out to internet forum -suggestions please. Then we can show those continentals and Tour of Britain what this country has to offer, its a real opportunity to see one of the biggest road shows there is and some of the best cyclists in the world on home turf with the kids without a lot of travel and expense. Perhaps some youngun with be inspired by this to become our future TDF world champ winner!

posted by 60kg lean keen ... [71 posts]
25th October 2012 - 13:45


I suppose transfers may be complicated in a Grand depart only around the Yorkshire region, but it is a shame that probably THE cycling hotbed of the UK (producing such riders as Brian Robinson, Barry Hoban, Beryl Burton, Malcolm Elliot, Sid and Tom Barras, Ben Swift, the Downing brothers, Ed Clancy etc) doesn’t get any BC support. Maybe it is because Brian Cookson is from Lancashire? Thinking

posted by Chris James [313 posts]
25th October 2012 - 13:53