CYCLING chiefs are a step closer to bringing the Tour De France to the streets of Scarborough after announcing an inspection date for the proposed route and facilities.
Race officials will visit the area in October as part of a three-day visit to the region as part of Welcome To Yorkshire’s bid to host the ‘Grand Depart’ stage of the 2016 race.
The route is expected to start in Leeds before passing through Scarborough, which would help showcase the town to a worldwide television audience of millions.
Andy Sharp, chairman of the Renaissance Transport Group and a keen cyclist, said: “This is great news as it means that there’s now a real possibility that the race will come to the area.
“The Tour De France is a great event, and not only has this years event been one of the best ever, we also have one of the best cyclists ever in Mark Cavendish, and it would be great to see him race on home soil.”
Cavendish, 26, recorded the 20th Tour de France stage win of his career on Sunday to become the first British winner of the prestigious green jersey.
The inclusion of Scarborough would follow the successful hosting of the Tour of Britain in 2008, when the route included the seafront.
The bid team have also been invited to Belgium next year to see the start of the race, and to see how a foreign country hosts the event.
If the bid is successful, it would see riders spend two days in the region, covering 112 miles on each day.
Hosting the event would cost several million pounds, however, the bid winner would hope to recoup that several times over.
It would be only the fourth time part of the Tour de France has taken place in the UK.
When London hosted the event in 2007, it generated around £100 million for the region. However, the Yorkshire bid faces stiff global competition, including from Barcelona, Florence and Qatar.
If the bid’s successful, it would be the fourth time that the UK has hosted the start of the race, and the bid team are adamant that if their successful, it would be the best yet.
“Peter Dodd, marketing and sales director for Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “We think Yorkshire would be the perfect backdrop for the Tour de France. The visit to the Grand Depart was very positive and made us more determined to pull out all the stops to bring it to the county, the diaries are out at the moment trying to find a mutually suitable date, likely to be early October, to bring the organisers over so we can showcase the route and Yorkshire’s fantastic facilities.”