EDINBURGH’S Festivals and Events champion has said the city is likely to renew its bid to host the Tour de France’s Grand Depart within the next five years.
Steve Cardownie was speaking as this year’s Tour opened in Leeds at the weekend.
The city’s deputy council leader, Steve Cardownie, said he wanted to make a fresh bid for the Capital to host it in 2018 or 2019.
He said: “We will be that much more equipped because we will have seen first-hand how it operates in Yorkshire.”
The famous three-week race has returned to the UK for the first time since 2007, with two stages in Yorkshire over the weekend and a third finishing in London today.
Councillor Cardownie was involved in the city’s failed bid to hold this year’s departure stage when Tour organisers opted for Yorkshire instead.
“We’ve staged cycling events in the past, we’ve had athletic events and, of course, we have our fantastic festivals.
“We are always in the market for something new, something different.
“We were working with Event Scotland with a view to bringing the Grand Depart and some of the early stages to Edinburgh in 2017.
“We were encouraged to bring that bid forward to 2014 and Yorkshire beat us to it.
“When the organisers were last here, they were waxing lyrical about the city and they could see themselves that it’s good for the Tour.
“It’s not just good for Edinburgh, it’s good for the Tour.”
Staging the opening of the Tor would be a massive boost for the city and Lothians
Already millions of pounds have been spent on broadening the city’s cycling network and the numbers commuting on two wheels or enjoying recreational cycling is growing rapidly.
The success of homegrown Sir Chris Hoy has perhaps been partly responsible for a growing interest in cycling.
An estimated 2.5 million people lined the roads for the first two stages of this year’s Tour – half the population of Yorkshire.
The committee that brought the Tour opening to the county, claimed the exercise was a vast success.
Those involved had “revelled in being part of history”, said Sir Rodney Walker, chairman of the local tour organisers.
“The passion of the crowds in Yorkshire has really made this a weekend to remember.”
The enormous success of the stage, and of the two-day jaunt to Yorkshire – today it heads from Cambridge to central London – was obvious the moment the 197 riders took to the roads.
At least 2.5 million people watched the riders battle through Yorkshire’s city streets and country lanes.