CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES has called on the Welsh Government to do all it can to bring a British leg of the Tour De France to North Wales.
Tour De France race organisers ASO have recently signalled a desire to bring a leg of the prestigious race back to Britain, possibly as early as 2014 or 2015.
British Cycling, the Governing body of the sport in the UK, has proposed a ‘Grand Depart’ stage which would see the UK leg started in Edinburgh and end in the South East, with racing in Wales being contained on the third day.
The move would need backing from the Welsh Government and the AM is hoping North Wales can be involved in the stage.
A second rival bid comes from Yorkshire, who hope to have the stage in entirely in their region.
Clwyd South AM Ken Skates said:
“In recent weeks there has been a clear sign from ASO, the organisers of the Tour De France, that they want to bring the race back to the UK very soon in order to capitalise on the huge explosion of interest there has been in cycling since the Olympics.
“There are two rival bids for the UK Leg, with British Cycling backing a bid which includes Scotland, England and a portion of the leg in Wales. Given this, I can think of no better place to hold the race than here in North Wales.
“There aren’t many top level sporting competitions that North Wales can host, we will always miss out on the big stadium-based events to South Wales. However for an event like this North Wales is perfectly suited given the spectacular local scenery and the numbers of people who would come out to line the route.
“Given the surge in popularity for the sport and the economic benefits that could be won by staging a route in North Wales, I am hoping the Welsh Government will work with ASO and British Cycling to explore how the region can be involved.
“A gruelling Clwydian Range leg of the Tour De France could be spectacular and do wonders for how we promote and market the area.”
A report by Transport for London highlighted how the British Leg of the 2007 tour, the last time a leg was staged in the UK, attracted crowds of over three million and generated over £70million for the London economy alone.
The First Minister said Welsh Government discussions were ongoing with partners involved in staging a British leg of the Tour De France.