Cycling: Triumphs of 2012 could bring Le Tour back to UK

Confidence increases in bid to hold four stages of the 2014 Tour de France across Britain

glasgow

Organisers of an ambitious bid to host four stages of the Tour de France across Britain in 2014 expect to discover before Christmas whether they have been successful.

There is increasing confidence among the bid's backers that Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO), the owners of the Tour, will favour the race returning to Britain in the wake of Bradley Wiggins's triumph this year, the extraordinary growth of cycling in Britain and the success of the Olympics.

The sight of huge crowds at both the road races and time trials during the London Games made a positive impression on ASO, as did the numbers who watched the torch relay across the country.

The plan is to launch the race with an opening stage – which will be a road stage rather than the traditional prologue – beginning in front of Edinburgh Castle. Day one would finish either in the Scottish Borders or in the North-east of England. The second stage would take the race across the country for a third held in Wales, which would feature a number of climbs, with the final one sweeping across the South-east of England.

"The planned route would pass within one hour of 50 per cent of the population," said Jonny Clay, a director of British Cycling, who is part of the bid alongside Event- Scotland, the Scottish and Welsh governments, Visit Britain and UK Sport.

A Yorkshire bid, mounted by Welcome to Yorkshire and other local bodies, is also on the table, thought to include two stages in the county and a third in the South-east of England. The Yorkshire bid has resisted attempts to discuss a joint venture. Having two British bids is described as "daft" by Clay, although he added that "we respect their right to go after a commercial property".

"If Yorkshire come through and win this, great," said Clay. "From British Cycling's perspective it's just good that [the Tour] is coming. We're backing what we think is the best bid."

A Scottish-based bid has been in the planning stages for five years, gradually evolving to include this bold British plan. Originally the aim was to bring the Tour to Scotland in 2016 or 2017, but the success of Team Sky and the explosion of interest in this country saw ASO themselves encourage the British bid to bring their plans forward.

Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour, visited Edinburgh last year, and this summer Tour officials were driven around the entirety of the proposed route. The feedback received by British Cycling is described as positive.

The cost of bringing the Tour to this country for four stages is estimated at £10 million, much of which will be public money from Scotland, Wales and UK Sport, who fund elite sport in the UK and last week launched a programme designed to attract major sporting events to Britain to build on the successes of the Olympics.

Part of the appeal of a British tour to ASO is that the financial climate across much of the rest of Europe makes bidding from the likes of Spain difficult. Britain's recently developed reputation of hosting sporting events and doing so financially successfully has not gone unnoticed. Nor has the number of spectators who turn out – the torch relay's 70-day pilgrimage around the country accompanied by vast numbers of onlookers made an impression.

The Tour was last in Britain in 2007 and drew good crowds then. Organisers expect to hear informally at least by Christmas whether the British bid has won, with a deal to be signed in the new year. As with any sporting bid it remains a fluid situation until the very last – London were never expected to beat Paris to win the 2012 Games – and were Britain not to win the 2014 bid, it would come back to the table. The following year is a strong possibility should 2014 go elsewhere.

Organisers remain coy over the proposed route, but it is likely to include a couple of sprint finishes, almost certainly on the opening stage, and in Wales "something that makes a bit of a mess" of the peloton. It is the national spread of the bid that has earned the support of British Cycling and UK Sport. Cycling has grown in popularity hugely across the country – Scottish Cycling have seen their membership rise by 67 per cent over the past three years. British Cycling membership has trebled since 2007.

Its bedrock is one simple factor – the success of Britain's elite riders, on road and track. It is on the other side of Scotland that the building blocks of the road to Rio are being put in place over this weekend within the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome .

After two gold medals on day one of the World Cup in Glasgow, yesterday's return was limited to a silver and a bronze. Jason Kenny's error saw him crash out of the keirin final, while Jess Varnish had to settle for runner-up in the sprint with her team-mate Becky James an encouraging third.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own