Tour de France: Councillors set to back Edinburgh start bid

Bradley Wiggins British cyclist Bradley Wiggins was the winner of the Tour de France 2012

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Edinburgh City Council is set to back a bid to bring the Tour de France to Scotland for the first time.

Under plans being considered, Edinburgh Castle would host the Presentation of the Riders, followed by a day of cycling ahead of the Grand Depart.

Councillors are due vote on the proposals on Thursday.

The council said attracting the world's largest annual sporting event could be worth £45-55m to the Scottish economy, with more than £24m spent in the city.

The bid to bring the Tour de France to the UK is being led by EventScotland with the support of the Scottish government, British Cycling, UK Sport, the Welsh government, plus several English and Welsh local authorities.

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.

Edinburgh City Council's bid would be part of the British bid, which would see four days of the race in the UK, through southern Scotland, England and Wales.

'Premier destination'

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.

If the bid is successful, the riders would tour the city centre in "non-race" mode the day before they were due to start the race. The race would then begin from the outskirts of the capital.

Steve Cardownie, Edinburgh City Council's festivals and events champion, said: "Edinburgh is known the world over as a premier events destination, and with good reason.

"I can think of no more dramatic backdrop than Edinburgh Castle and our historic Old Town and, of course, our residents are well used to laying on a fantastic welcome to the many millions of visitors that travel to the city each year.

"The value that our festivals bring to the local and Scottish economy is well known and an event of the Tour de France's stature would be no different - generating somewhere in the region of £50m.

"Add to that, the profile and exposure that the associated media coverage would bring with it and it becomes a startling proposition."

He added: "Of course, Edinburgh is no stranger to cycling success, thanks to the incredible achievements of Sir Chris Hoy, and we are already seeing the impact this is having on participation, a trend that would surely continue following a successful Grand Depart."

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