Tour de France: British Cycling hopeful of return within six years

Tour de France in Yorkshire
An estimated 2.5m people watched as the Tour riders raced around Yorkshire on Saturday and Sunday.

British Cycling is hopeful that the Tour de France will return to the United Kingdom in the next six years.

Race director Christian Prudhomme has pledged that the event will be held in the UK again after the "grandest Grand Depart" in its 111-year history.

Yorkshire hosted the race's first two stages, with a third ending in London.

British Cycling's cycle sport director Jonny Clay said: "Four years' time would be great, but somewhere between four and six years would be great."

He added: "We want it back. We're talking about three stages out of 21, but the impact has been tremendous."

British Cycling's Jonny Clay
"I know that Scotland remains interested. I think many other areas of Britain would be interested. The challenge is where?"

Yorkshire won the bid to host the 2014 Grand Depart after seeing off competition from Edinburgh.

Clay added: "I know that Scotland remains interested. I think many other areas of Britain would be interested. The challenge is where?"

An estimated 2.5m people lined the route as the Tour riders raced around Yorkshire on Saturday and Sunday.

When asked if the Tour would return to the UK, Prudhomme said: "Yes. The question is not if, but when, although I don't have the answer for the second part.

"Thank you. It was unbelievable, I just want to say again: merci beaucoup."

York
Crowds lined the streets of York for the second stage of the Tour de France on Sunday

The Frenchman added: "It was incredible. It is going to be unforgettable, as the first time in London was just seven years ago.

"The Grand Depart in Yorkshire was amazing, it was emotional. It was the same on Monday, 30km in Greater London and so many people, everyone with smiles on their faces, it was emotional.

"What the British people have done is magnificent."

The start of the Tour de France was first held abroad in Amsterdam in 1954. This year was the 20th time that the Grand Depart has been staged outside France.

Britain has only staged the start of the race once before, in 2007, when London hosted a prologue time trial and a second stage from London to Canterbury in Kent.

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