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Edinburgh to strengthen TdF Grand Depart bid with £225,000 funding for 2015 Tour series events

Scottish city hopes to host a Grand Depart in 2018 or 2019

Edinburgh’s council is to strike a £225,000 deal to hold two stages of the 2015 Friends Life Tour of Britain and one Pearl Izumi Tour Series event - all part of a plan to eventually secure the Grand Depart of the Tour De France - something the city lost out on to Yorkshire this year.

The city’s Culture and Sport Committee will meet next Tuesday to agree the package, according to The Scotsman.

Committee members will be asked to sanction the three years of funding for the two events  - with the hope of hosting a Grand Depart in either 2018 or 2019.

Steve Cardownie, the council’s events champion, said: “From the global exposure of Edinburgh’s cityscape and the boost to local businesses, to encouraging the take up of cycling in the city, the benefits of the event to Edinburgh would be clear to see.

“Edinburgh’s streets have staged many fantastic cycling events in recent years and we are always looking to welcome new events to the city. If the Tour of Britain should go ahead - and prove to be a success - I believe the council would be more than well equipped to bid with partners for part of the Tour de France.”

Recently we reported that there will be no Sky Ride in the Scottish capital this year after Edinburgh City Council declined to offer funding for the event, with the money instead going towards the  Pearl Izumi Tour Series bid.

Edinburgh’s first Sky Ride, in September 2012, saw 10,000 cyclists join Sir Chris Hoy a month after his Olympic success in London to ride through the city’s Holyrood Park.

The council put £20,000 towards that event, and says that it made its funding on the understanding that it was a one-off.

Last year saw Edinburgh’s second Sky Ride, organised at short notice with organisers Sky and British Cycling meeting the cost, but according to the Edinburgh Evening News, that event plus Sky Ride Local rides during the year attracted just 350 riders.

Joel Lavery, British Cycling’s national partnerships manager, confirmed that there would be no Sky Ride in Edinburgh this year.

“We ask all our partners to provide financial and other support,” he said. “Edinburgh City Council were not in a position to do this so unfortunately there will be no Sky Ride in Edinburgh this year.

“We understand that they have difficult decisions to make so we are always happy to open up discussions again should circumstances change.”

The original plans for Edinburgh’s failed 2014 Grand Départ bid envisaged a Prologue in the city centre, home to two Unesco World Heritage sites in the shape of the Old Town and the New Town, followed by a road stage.

By the time the final bid, which had the backing of British Cycling, had been submitted, the race was due to start with a road stage heading south from Edinburgh, with two subsequent stages taking the race south via northern England into Wales, then towards the Channel Ports.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

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