CYCLISTS competing in the Tour de France could find themselves racing through the streets of Scarborough.
It has emerged that Yorkshire tourism bosses are close to completing a deal which would see opening stages of the 2016 event held in Yorkshire, with Scarborough a prominent destination on the proposed route.
The inclusion of Scarborough would follow the successful hosting of the Tour of Britain in 2008, when the route included the seafront.
If the new Tour de France link comes off, Scarborough landmarks would be on show to a worldwide television audience of millions and it is expected that thousands of visitors would flock to the town for the event.
Andy Sharp, chairman of the Renaissance Transport Group and a keen cyclist, said: “I think it would be a wonderful boost and a shot in the arm for cycling in Scarborough.
“It is an exciting event, and I’m sure it would get youngsters interested.”
The Grand Depart opening leg of the Tour de France, which the Welcome To Yorkshire led team is hoping to bring to the region, is held outside of France every two years.
Cyclists would begin in Leeds and pass through the Yorkshire Dales, York and the North Yorkshire Moors before arriving in Scarborough. They would continue on to Hull and end up in Sheffield.
The race would be split into two days, with the cyclists covering 112 miles a day. It is believed that further talks are scheduled next month, and Tour de France organisers are planning to visit the region to see the proposed route.
Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “Those in-depth discussions are ongoing but I can reveal Yorkshire’s bid has been positively received by the organisation committee at this stage.”
It would be only the fourth time part of the Tour de France has taken place in the UK. In 2007, when London and Kent hosted the opening stages of the race, more than £100m was generated for the area.