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Edinburgh could host Tour depart as early as 2014 now city council has backed the bid

Decision would see four days of the race in southern Scotland, England and Wales

The Edinburgh bid for the Tour de France grand depart as early as 2014 has gathered pace, with the city council getting behind the movement.

It's already in motion, with British Cycling backing the bid, and the race's organisers ASO have promised a decision by the end of the year.

Councillors are due vote on the proposals on Thursday.

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.

It might seem obvious for the city to want the race, but there are associated costs to be met.

According to the BBC, "the hosting fee for the event is about £2m, of which Edinburgh City Council would be expected to pay about £300,000. It would then cost the local authority about £450,000 for a media centre, barriers and police."

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.

The date for the Tour to visit has not been confirmed but is likely to be in the next five years, with the potential for it to be as soon as 2014.

Steve Cardownie, Edinburgh City Council's festivals and events champion, said: "Edinburgh is known the world over as a premier events destination, and with good reason.

"I can think of no more dramatic backdrop than Edinburgh Castle and our historic Old Town and, of course, our residents are well used to laying on a fantastic welcome to the many millions of visitors that travel to the city each year.

"The value that our festivals bring to the local and Scottish economy is well known and an event of the Tour de France's stature would be no different - generating somewhere in the region of £50m.

"Add to that, the profile and exposure that the associated media coverage would bring with it and it becomes a startling proposition."

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