Ed Milliband pressed the flesh of the French President François Hollande last weekend (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)
This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.
Yorkshire’s bid to host the start of the 2016 Tour de France has reportedly received the backing of the new French President.
Ed Milliband, leader of the UK’s Labour Party, revealed that he had engaged in some positive talks with François Hollande in Paris following Bradley Wiggins’ victory in the 2012 race in Paris last weekend. Wiggins (Team Sky) became the first British rider to win the Tour in the race’s 109-year history.
Milliband, who is the MP for Doncaster North in the county of Yorkshire, said: “The president was very supportive. It would be a good thing for Yorkshire. It would be a great thing for my constituency. I am backing ‘Le Bid.’”
After recent successes staging the start of the Tour abroad, race organisers 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 cities of Florence, Barcelona and Doha have reportedly lined up bids for the 2014 Grand Depart.
Yorkshire’s bid for 2016 is now gathering pace and, if selected, the route in the north of England is likely to feature the picturesque Sutton Bank as one of the climbs. Britain previously hosted the start of the race in London in 2007.
“We have strong cross-party political support within the county to make this happen and now we have the support of President François Hollande, which is great news for our bid,” the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, Gary Verity, told Cyclingnews.
“Yorkshire is seen by many as the spiritual heartland of cycling in the UK. We have the cycling heritage, we have the champions and we are race ready to host Le Tour. It would be an honour to bring the race back to England and host it in our great county and we are working hard to make that happen.”