Scotland to bid for Tour de France

This morning I read eagerly an article in The Scotsman reporting that Scotland will attempt to host the Tour de France, with 2017 being the first opportunity. EventScotland is a National events agency that supports the Tour of Britain and Mountain Bike World Cup, as well as other sporting and cultural events to drive tourism and the economy.

Either Glasgow or Edinburgh would be the home venue for the pre-race time trial and the start of the first phase of the Tour following three years of talks with organisers.

To say that central Edinburgh would be an ideal location for the Grand Depart and a prologue is an understatement. You’ve got pictoresque backdrops, cobbled streets, short sharp hills, and great access for fans. But the logistics must be a nightmare, and with the laborious progress of the Tram project, I would reserve judgement before getting too excited.

Bank of Scotland building, dusk

What would be your dream prologue route around Edinburgh?

The race route may link the two cities or head as far north as the Trossachs.

Another understatement on the way: I would be beyond excited if, say, a stage 1 was to go from Edinburgh to Glasgow via the Trossachs. The Trossachs National Park is an area where I ride often, with rolling terrain, lochs and lakes, and a decent hill in the Dukes Pass, which is used for local races including the Sam Robinson Memorial and the Tour de Trossachs hilly TT.

Financial backing would come from the Scottish Government, to the tune of £5m, but a £100m benefit to the Scottish economy is predicted. Logistical and political hurdles must be overcome however- the elosed roads caused quite a rumpus at the Etape Caledonia sportive in 2009. Cycling is not a mainstream sport here and there are plenty of people that would not be happy to see their daily lives disrupted.

It’s clear that there has been considerable effort to bring the Tour to Scotland though. Cyclingnews reported in 2007 that discussions had been held between EventsScotland and the ASO, so years of work are going in to this.