Surrey joins Yorkshire in race for Tour de France after Games success

ANOTHER council is hoping to bring a stage of the Tour de France to its roads following Team GB’s Olympic cycling success.

Thousands lined the streets of Surrey to watch cycling stars, including medal winners Bradley Wiggins, Lizzie Armitstead and Chris Froome, compete in the time trials and road races, said a Surrey County Council spokesman.

The local authority is now looking to host a stage of the Tour de France to build on the success of the Olympics, he added.

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Surrey County Council leader David Hodge said: “Surrey has been the epicentre of world cycling over the past few days, cementing the county’s reputation as a world-class place to ride.

“We’re looking at putting together a bid to host a stage of the Tour de France to build on the success of the Olympic cycle races.

Yorkshire is also bidding to host the first two stages – known as Le Grand Depart – of the Tour in 2016, which is set aside as a year when part of the race will be run outside France. Others in the running include Barcelona, Venice, Berlin and Scotland.

Just days after Wiggins’s Tour de France win on July 22, Ed Miliband used talks with French president Francois Hollande to lobby for the cycle race to come to Yorkshire.

He said that the president “seemed supportive of the idea” when he raised it during talks at the Elysée Palace in Paris.

Labour sources said that holding early stages of the event in the UK could provide a multi-million-pound cash boost to the economy.

The Yorkshire stages would run through Leeds, York, Hull, Sheffield, Scarborough and the Dales.

Mr Miliband, who is MP for Doncaster North, said he had mentioned Wiggins’s triumph and told the president about the bid being put forward by Yorkshire to host the initial two stages.

He said: “He said the Tour de France had gone through his constituency (Correze in south-west France) and I said I was looking forward to it hopefully going through mine. He seemed supportive of the idea. I know it is not a decision for him but it would be a great thing for it to come to Yorkshire.”