Future TdF Starts




Where Next? 2015

With Utrecht hosting the 2015 Grand Depart only last weekend it is a bit earlier to start speculating about 2017 and beyond. But that is exactly what has started to happen!

And already we have Manchester, London and Edinburgh / Glasgow being floated as contenders for the next vacant spot. With Normandy already lined up for the 2016 start that means 2017 is the next opportunity.

However there are other parts of Europe that also want to get involved - with Barcelona and Florence being put forward yet again. And certainly it comes as a surprise to many that Italy has never hosted a Tour de France start - even though the race has frequently crossed the border in an Alpine stage.

So the UK can look forward to being involved in the Tour bidding process again over the coming months. Watch this space .. and try to spot who in UK local government is making a fact-finding trip around France this month ..

Update - It looks like someone is not telling us the truth -  The Tour de France will not be coming to Manchester in two years time, city leaders had confirmed. Hopes that the city may stage part of the world’s most famous cycling event were raised after reports of a possible bid for the tour’s Grand Depart in 2017. The event’s director Christian Prudhomme said he had received ‘three British bids’ for the opening of the 2017 from London, Manchester and an unnamed Scottish city. However town hall bosses have today denied this, saying they had held no discussions with the organisers. [Manchester Evening News 7-Jul-2015]

But in London there is the news - The cost to London of hosting the Tour de France could be as high as £30 million, the Standard can reveal today. This is almost six times the £5.2 million the capital paid towards the £7.5 million total cost of hosting the three-day Grand Depart in London and Kent in 2007. Boris Johnson is now assessing whether to proceed with a bid for the opening stages of the 2017 Tour. [Evening Standard 8-Jul-2015]


The Tour de France leader prepares for the stage start at ... Portsmouth. Miguel Indurain was the overall TdF winner this year - but who was this early leader?

Where Next? 2012

The politics and pseudo-statistics surrounding bids to host the Grand Depart of the Tour de France have reached olympian proportions - and some British bids are leading the field. Leading in the sense that they are more political and have more made-up financial “projections” than the rest.

Now that we know the 2014 Tour de France will start in Yorkshire the guessing games can finish - at least for a few more years!

Some reaction to the news in the press - “£100m coup as Yorkshire gears up to welcome Tour de France “ Yorkshire Post

“ .. organisers of the Edinburgh bid, which had the backing of the sport’s governing body, said they remained confident the race could be brought to Scotland at a later date, possibly 2017” Scotsman

And a good prediction of the result back in September by our sister website - Tour-Racing

After that excitement for Yorkshire who will host the 2015 Grand Depart? No official news as yet (or did I miss it?) but Koksijde on the Belgian coast is making a bid ...


FlyingPigYorksASO Welcome In Yorkshire
Dateline: 14-Dec-2012
Yorkshire will host the first two days racing on the 5th and 6th July before the Tour heads south for a third stage in southern England, with a finish in London. Leeds will be the host city of the Grand Depart and will hold a festival of cycling and the arts to coincide with the arrival of the Tour. Full details of the stages will be revealed at a joint news conference in Leeds and Paris on 17 January.”

“Yorkshire fought hard to secure the Tour de France Grand Depart, publicising their bid in Britain and France during this year's race and then outbidding their rivals with a financial offer close to four million pounds.” Link | ASO | WtY

Edinburgh Council Says Yes
Dateline: 13-Dec-2012
According to STV, Edinburgh City councillors held a full meeting today (Thursday 13-Dec-2012) to approve a £1.03m budget for the Tour de France bid. Despite an amendment from the Green party, the report was approved by a vote of 47 to six.

“It was announced earlier this year the city would be bidding to hold the Grand Depart in 2014. The bid is being led by EventScotland with support from the Scottish Government, British Cycling, UK Sport, the Welsh Government and several English and Welsh local authorities. Rival bids are being submitted from Yorkshire, Barcelona, Florence and Utrecht.”

But nothing from ASO as yet ...

FlyingPigScotsEdinburgh Council Yet To Approve Plans
Dateline: 8-Dec-2012
Edinburgh City Councillors are due vote on Tour de France proposals this coming Thursday (13-Dec) - reports the BBC. According to their news item - the council expected that the event could be worth around £50m to the Scottish economy, with more than £24m spent in the city. 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.

The BBC report also said - “The date 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”. So still no nearer to discovering which city will get the 2014 start contract or which year a British start would be.

Florence Makes Last Minute Push
Dateline: 27-Nov-2012
Last night cyclingnews.com reported that the deputy mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, had expressed the view that ASO were set to decide on who hosts the 2014 Grand Depart in the next few days. And that he believes the Yorkshire bid is in pole position thanks to an offer of over four million euros. However he also was reported as saying "The Tour has started in Britain but it's never started in Italy and yet Italian cycling and Tuscan cycling has given a lot to the Tour de France over the years".

So the earlier statement by Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity that Barcelona and Florence had withdrawn their bids seems less than accurate ... even though anyone from Yorkshire might say something much more direct! Especially when it comes to raising the 4 million euros winning bid fee - that’s at least £3,250,000 in real brass.

FlyingPigScotsNo News is Good News?
Dateline: 15-Nov-2012
Two weeks on and nothing new to report ..... has anybody got any good rumours?
Update: 18-Nov-2012
British Cycling’s Jonny Clay was asked about the Grand Depart during today’s BBC coverage of the Track World Cup from Glasgow. But he provided nothing new; simply saying that the proposed start was from Edinburgh, with the race heading through England to Wales and then on to the Channel - over four days. When asked about the Yorkshire start bid he said that he did not have any detailed knowledge of it. When asked about a combined bid he said that Yorkshire should be involved - but not as the Grand Depart.

Scotland “... 2015 is the most likely but 2014 is possible.”
Dateline: 1-Nov-2012
A few days ago British Cycling’s president was reported in The Scotsman as saying that the “Scottish-led” bid is a “very positive and well thought of bid” at an advanced planning stage with funding is “more or less” in place. Brian Cookson said there had been a lack of dialogue with the competing Yorkshire bid. “You would normally expect there to be a more meaningful dialogue with a possible host city or area than we have had with Yorkshire. We have asked.”

The Scottish bid is based upon hosting the “Grand Départ” in Edinburgh, followed by up to three road stages taking the peloton south through England and Wales, and ending up as close to the south coast – and France – as possible. Unlike the view expressed by the BBC Look North reporter a few days before, Cookson stated that “ASO have said they are likely to make up their minds in the next few weeks.”

So the two camps continue to score points off each other - while spend more money. And we seem to have a situation where the two different bids could both involve the Tour coming to Yorkshire. One as the start - the other as a stage start / finish? And if British Cycling has been upset by Yorkshire’s independent approach then its status in cycling politics (and some substantial funding) could put the Edinburgh start back on top. But not only that - the route south could be directed via Lancashire - quel dommage!

FlyingPigYorksYorkshire’s Cycling Fans Still Waiting
Dateline: 24-Oct-2012
The fact that a Yorkshire BBC TV team were reporting for local news from Paris last night did rather give the impression that a pro-Yorkshire decision was about to be made. But today - at the 2013 route launch and again in this evening’s news - there was no confirmation that Yorkshire would be the host for the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ.

The final BBC comment being that the decision by ASO may not be made public until January 2013.

Yorkshire Bid Supporters
Dateline: 17-Oct-2012
The unofficial route for the 2013 Tour de France was in the media last week - but the 2014 plans have remained under wraps. Yorkshire looks to be the favourite - simply because it is the only one that has not withdrawn from the race. However if it does win there is a bit of a problem in the cycling politics. The Scottish bid has UK Sport and British Cycling as key supporters (as you would expect) - but Yorkshire’s bid is apparently supported just by those two long-time champions of pro massed-start road racing - the Cyclists Touring Club and Cycling Time Trials. Interesting to see if the Yorkshire stages are against the clock at Boroughbridge or perhaps with bells, reflectors, lights and mudguards fitted for a gentle ramble around the back lanes of the Dales. But these unlikely stage plans aside there should be some red faces at British Cycling if they have been supporting the wrong bid. More next week?

York Council Leader Airs 2014 Option
Dateline: 7-Sep-2012
Over the past few days there have been reports quoting City of York Council leader, James Alexander, as saying "We have been working in conjunction with Welcome to Yorkshire on a bid to bring the Tour de France to York in 2014. You will be aware of Yorkshire's success in contributing to Britain's Olympic medals tally and we also know how to host a great event. I am actively working with the Lord Mayor of York's twin town of Dijon, Monsieur Francois Rebsamen, who is also a minister in the French Government, to bring this event to York. York has successfully hosted a number of other major cycle races [Really? Which ones were these? ...], and we are confident our good international profile will lead to a favourable outcome."

Another report in the York Press last Saturday said “A decision on whether North Yorkshire will host the opening stages of the Tour de France is expected to be made within weeks after hopes rose that it will be coming to the region. ... Race organiser the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) has sent Welcome to Yorkshire contracts to examine and detailed talks are now being held about the route, with an announcement likely either at the end of this month or the start of next month.”

This was supported by a story in the Northern Echo on the same day stating that “A bid to stage the three opening stages of the Tour de France in Yorkshire is close to being sealed” and that “... the prologue time trial would be staged in Leeds ...before two days of racing in North Yorkshire”

The rumours that Barcelona and Florence had withdrawn their bids were confirmed by WtY chief executive Gary Verity earlier. This situation, combined with talk of contracts and early announcements, plus the latest from York Council - all point strongly to a timetable change.

2016 is off and 2014 is on!

However it may now be the case that Yorkshire is the only place outside of France still prepared to risk the cash on a 2014 Grand Depart. Also any future bid efforts by Scotland may now have to be deferred until after the 2014 race has been held.

FlyingPigSurrey Council Leader Has A Rush of Enthusiasm
Dateline: 2-Aug-2012
“Surrey has been the epicentre of world cycling over the past few days ... We’re looking at putting together a bid to host a stage of the Tour de France to build on the success of the Olympic cycle races.” says Surry Council Leader according to velouk.com.

So another politician tries to jump on the growing bandwagon. It must be the effect of seeing all the royalty and celebs at the cycle racing recently. Hopefully all these councils and quangos will get together into one co-ordinated bid. But getting all the way from Edinburgh to Surrey via Yorkshire with all those competing egos will probably be too much to ask.

French President backs Yorkshire
from article by Mark Robinson, Cyclingnews.com 12:23 25 July 2012

Yorkshire's bid ... has reportedly received the backing of the new French President after the leader of the UK's Labour Party [Ed Milliband] revealed that he had engaged in some positive talks with François Hollande in Paris ... last weekend.”

“... ASO have stated their desire to have a foreign start every two years going forward. This year's race began in the Belgian town of Liege, and the the cities of Florence, Barcelona and Doha have reportedly lined up bids for the 2014 Grand Depart.”

So this provides a repeat of the “even years” objective for TdF starts outside of France - which down-rates the chances for Scotland - and records another Yorkshire politician backing a 2016 start in Yorkshire. What it does not say is anything about the rumoured withdrawal of Barcelona and Florence from the 2014 bid. However, as I often remind people, politicians make their living out of politics. Most have no qualifications for, or experience of, organising projects or running a profitable business ... so these are just words that will be conveniently forgotten if the project fails. But at least we now know that Ed Milliband was in Paris last week. It’s not a bad life being a politician.
Update 26-Jul-2012
The BBC regional news also reported Ed Milliband’s meeting with the President - but the impression from the video clip was that the leader of the opposition was being sent out via a side entrance. And the BBC commentary said the meeting was held this week? Otherwise nothing new to add.

York invests £50k in bid to bring Tour de France to Yorkshire
from article by Mark Stead 8:51am 19 July 2012
“PLANS to bring the Tour de France to York have received a £50,000 boost. City of York Council ’s cabinet has approved giving the grant to the campaign for the county to stage the start of the world-famous cycle race in 2016 – meaning the city’s name, image and credentials will be circulated around the world.”

The article goes on to quote York Council’s CEO as saying that the £50k will be added to another £250k from other local authorities. The York money coming from a fund aimed at boosting the local economy. However it is not clear if the money is being treated as a “donation” to the bid or is conditional upon getting some measurable results.

At least the people of York have a chance to comment and the initial reactions range from a cycling fan asking for votes on “Back The Bid” to residents asking why the same council cannot afford street lighting and enough litter bins. But at least one “enthusiastic cyclist” puts the view that “this bid is a massive waste of time and money” with no jobs benefits and is “nothing more that the opening of a con-job”

I’m not sure what York thinks it will get for its £50k - when Berlin was looking at having to spend over £8 million to host the start! Even the £300k amongst all the local authorities is still nowhere near enough to convince ASO to ship the Tour circus so far from home. And even if all the other “non-French” candidates withdrew then many French cities would still be able to offer much more.

Yorkshire bids for 2016 Tour de France start
from article by AFP 9 Jul 2012 11:26
“The English county of Yorkshire is aiming to host the opening stages or 'Grand Depart' of the 2016 Tour de France. .... going to Yorkshire would mean a trip to the north of England. However, the Yorkshire team, as well as proposing to hold two legs in the county, which boasts some of England's most scenic countryside as well as the Dales, a series of hills, are also looking to stage another part of the race in southern England. This, they maintain, would enable the Tour to ensure riders and teams are back in France soon after the finish, preventing any need for rest days.”

A different view - coming from a French press agency...

FlyingPigTour de France bosses ‘love’ plans for spectacular start in Edinburgh
from article by RICHARD MOORE Scotsman.com 02:33 3 July 2012

“THE event team bidding to bring the start of the Tour de France international cycle race to Scotland has lined up a spectacular presentation on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle before an 8,000-strong crowd. Plans are progressing at speed after proposals for a city centre route via famous landmarks for the first stage receiving an enthusiastic thumbs up from the Tour organisers.”

The idea proposed is for a team presentation on the Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle on the Thursday 29 June, a prologue on Saturday and a road stage to Carlisle or Newcastle on Sunday 2 July. A GPS map for the proposed prologue route has already been loaded to the web! The bid team also stated that ASO had been contacted by Alex Salmond, visited Edinburgh in November and “thought it was fantastic”.

The bid team director also was reported as saying “The next step ... is establishing the best possible route through Britain. We’ll do that in conjunction with our partners in the rest of Britain.” He also confirmed that the Yorkshire bid team were at the start in Liege - but then said Yorkshire could host the race in 2014 if the rumoured withdrawals of both Barcelona and Florence were true. [As reported here early, Berlin have also ruled themselves out on the basis of high costs and limited benefits.]

Edinburgh steps up bid to host 2017 Tour de France
from article by BikeRadar UK 12.48pm 2 Jul 2012

The report covers much the same ground has the BBC (below) but makes the point “The plans may be complicated by Yorkshire submitting plans to host the opening stages in 2016. Their formal bid was announced in March this year and the odds of Britain getting the grand depart two years on the trot are long”. Exactly...

Edinburgh steps up bid to host 2017 Tour de France
from article on BBC Sport 12:05 02 July 12

“A proposal to begin the Tour de France in Edinburgh in 2017 gathered pace this weekend when officials travelled to Liege for the Grand Depart. Representatives from British Cycling, UK Sport and EventScotland visited Belgium for talks with Amaury Sports Organisation, the Tour's organiser.”

The article also stated that “It is a second bid ... with Yorkshire eager to host the race in 2014 or 2016.” And said that only Edinburgh’s distance from France has stopped the bid being agreed already.

Tour de France to start at Edinburgh Castle if city wins bid
from article on STV 11:18 2 July 2012

“A proposal to start the Tour de France at Edinburgh Castle has been put forward to the event organisers ... Up to three further stages south from Edinburgh would see the event return to France, with discussions ongoing with authorities on the route.”

2017 Tour de France could start in Edinburgh
from article on Telegraph Sport 11:00AM 16 May 2012

“Edinburgh could host the Tour de France's grand départ in 2017 as organisers step up their bid to bring cycling's biggest race back to Britain ...
Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said: "To bring such a fantastic event to Scotland would be a huge coup, but we have a strong track record and I know that the country has a huge amount to offer ASO and the cyclists taking part."

The article also quoted Ian Drake has saying “British Cycling has embraced the opportunity to work with Scotland, helping them to fulfil their ambition of bringing the grand départ to Edinburgh”

So are BC backing both bids - Edinburgh and Yorkshire - or just one?

Tour de France - British Start?
Update 16-May-2012 from Cyclingnews.com
“EventScotland, working with British Cycling and UK Sport, is developing a proposal to host the race, “with the overall aim of keeping the Tour in the UK for as long as possible. The basic plan is to hold the first stage in Edinburgh before heading south for several stages in England and Wales..” So no chance now for Le Bid by Yorkshire for 2016?

Tour de France - British Start?
Update 26-Apr-2012
As most of you will obviously know - Germany is a relatively rich country, with enough spare funds to prop up the Eurozone’s debt-ridden governments. Yet this week came ... “Hosting the start of the Tour would cost about 10 million Euros, “a damned high sum of money,” Berlin Sport minister Andreas Statzkowksi told the Tagesspiegel website. “We will dismiss that idea.” (Cyclingnews.com)
The good news angle is that this makes for one less competitor to the Yorkshire and Scotland bids. The bad news angle is that “10 million euros” price tag. Much more than the figures suggested for either of the UK bids. So either Berlin has exaggerated or Yorkshire & Scotland have under estimated. The difference between the highest UK bid (Scotland’s 6.1 million euros) and Berlin’s budget is too great to argue that Berlin would simply be a more expensive place to hold the race. Considering the costs of shipping the whole of the Tour caravan and world media to and from Scotland, a Berlin start should incur less expense. Sadly my worse case scenario of Yorkshire and Scotland out-spending each other as they fight towards a loss-making conclusion seems all too real. However even a bad situation can be made to seem much better with a bit of spin - how about “Yorkshire and Scotland’s cost-saving bids force expensive Berlin out of the 2016 Tour de France race ...”.

Tour de France - British Start?
Dateline: 1-Apr-2012
As reported back in May 2011, “Welcome to Yorkshire” is bidding for the Grand Depart of the Tour de France. The latest announcement looks much like the one made last year - except that now there are more regions competing for the prize. WtYLeBidThe names listed so far for the 2016 start are Barcelona, Venice, Berlin and Scotland [Scotland’s bid was for 2017 originally but now seems to have moved - remains unconfirmed. 16-May-2012 Correction - now back on for 2017 see above]. But since nothing will be confirmed for another two or three years there is plenty of time for all this to change. If Yorkshire and Scotland do both remain in the race then, of the two, my view is that Scotland will get the decision - mainly because they seem to have more taxpayers money to spend. And that is the issue. The Tour organisers are commercial operators - unlike Welcome to Yorkshire who will, no doubt, be inclined to keep spending public money pursuing a cause well beyond the point of its commercial viability. They may even get into a escalating spending war with Scotland - where both sides are spending the same taxpayers money competing with each other.

But the really sad point about the Yorkshire bid is that public money is being spent on such a speculative bid. A bid with only a slim chance of success. Yet, at the same time, Yorkshire cycle sport is suffering from a lack of investment at all levels. The pro-elite Leeds Classic is just memory, while track riders have had no hard tracks to race on - indoor or out - for decades [one was proposed for Leeds - but that was in 1963] and even mountain bikers have few races; despite having having all that great outdoors available. If the Welcome to Yorkshire Tour bid was part of a wider programme of cycling development then it would have some credibility - but as it is it looks more like a publicity stunt.

I could, of course, be totally misguided and cynical - so how about looking for some useful, positive outcomes instead. Option one - Welcome to Yorkshire is successful in its bid and so can direct some of the huge regional profits into building a new indoor velodrome. Or alternatively WtY withdraws its bid now - to leave the way clear for Scotland - and allocates the millions saved to a fund for cycling development in Yorkshire.

Surprise Announcement
Dateline: 28-May-2011
I know that I suggested, ages ago, that Skipton should host the World Championships if Ponferrada can - but now they, or at least Yorkshire, has gone one better with a bid for the start of the Tour de France. It’s not until 2016 and so falls before the 2017 bid by Scotland that was announced in January. And just to recap the future TdF starts, confirmed and possibles, are - 2012 Liege, 2013 Corsica?, 2014 ??, 2015 Zolder?, 2016 Yorkshire?, 2017 Scotland?, 2018 Antwerp? But since the Tour likes to start in mainland France as well then some of these possibles are going to be disappointed. For Britain which will succeed? In my view Scotland’s “Auld Alliance” plus the £5 million funding will make it the favourite - of the two.

Scotland Identified as future start city
Dateline: 10-Feb-2011
“All this makes the city [Barcelona] a strong candidate, but it will be facing competition from many foreign communities which have shown interest in organising the Grand Départ, including Scotland, the city of Florence and the Liguria region (Italy), the city of Salzburg and Tyrol (Austria), Utrecht (Netherlands) and Kraków (Poland). ASO

Quiz question answer is ... Flavio Vanzella

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