Representatives from British Cycling, UK Sport and EventScotland visited the Belgian city of Liege this weekend for the Grand Depart of the 2012 Tour de France. With a proposal for the opening stages of the 2017 event being developed, the British partnership experienced the spectacular the Tour first-hand.
Fine details of the proposal are currently being developed, though Tour organisers Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) have been impressed with the initial outline plans for how the stages could run. Following the Tour's last visit to the UK - London and Kent in 2007 - the aspiration for 2017 is for an event that runs through the spine of Britain, linking some of its biggest towns and cities, and giving millions of people across the whole country the opportunity to watch and engage with the world’s most famous road race.
The iconic Edinburgh Castle would be the location for the presentation of the riders, using the new stands made for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, offering a seating capacity of over 8,000 at this spectacular venue. This would be followed by an amazing prologue, staged in Edinburgh taking in the Queens’ Edinburgh residence Holyrood Palace, The Scottish Parliament, the Royal Mile and Arthurs Seat.
Up to three further stages are now being developed, which will give riders a quick transfer back to France for the remainder of the Tour. The next steps will involve further engagement with local authorities throughout Britain, as well as key bodies from a number of sectors including cycling development, business and tourism.
Stuart Turner, International Events Director for EventScotland said: “The experience in Liege this weekend was superb and has given us further insight into the running of the Grand Depart, which will ultimately contribute to our final plans. The most important thing for us is to develop a proposal that will deliver a spectacular bike race for ASO and most importantly the riders, and I am confident that the combined experience and knowledge of the partners involved will achieve that. It would be unprecedented for Britain to host an international event which reached so much of the country and so many people."