It was announced in the Chancellor’s budget in October that £ 30million was set aside to bring the Tour back to the UK for the first time since 2014, with that sum also being used to potentially host the World Cup of women’s rugby 2025.In the November 4 edition of Weekly Cycling magazine, it was revealed that the proposed route would start in Scotland – most likely from Edinburgh Castle – before the second stopover takes place in the north of England.
The third stage would end in North Wales, with an insider with knowledge of the planned route confirming that the Welsh stage would be the most dramatic in terms of an anticipated overall classification battle.
The UK-wide bid must be submitted to the organizers of the ASO Tour in “early 2022” before a tendering process is launched. It is not yet known which other countries and regions are seeking to bring the Grand Départ to their territory in 2026. The Tour, traditionally, starts outside France every two years.
A spokesperson for the Tour de France said Weekly Cycling that they have not been able to say when ASO will announce where the race will start in four editions, with a number of figures across the three nations’ candidacy informing this post that they have been told not to speak the calendar of press applications.
Unlike other international events, there is no structured bidding process to follow.
Based on past announcements, however, the Big Departures were never revealed more than two and a half years before the start date.
Yorkshire’s successful hosting of the 2014 event was only confirmed in December 2012, while more recently Bilbao only received the 2023 start in March 2021.
This follows a trend, with Copenhagen being given the initial start of 2021 (postponed for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic) in February 2019, and Brussels being informed of their 2019 accommodation in May 2017.
Weekly Cycling also understands that ASO is unlikely to deviate from this model, and when bids for the 2026 event are tabled in early 2022, each region will be assessed in depth with visiting ASO delegates to be shown the routes and the area.
Tour Race Director Christian Prudhomme is known for wanting to bring the Grand Départ to Italy, Florence having previously been designated to host the 2014 start before Yorkshire was selected. The Italian city announced in 2020 that it was actively working on a renewed offer.