Devon's bid to host start of the Tour de France
AMBITIOUS plans to cash in on a glorious year in cycling could bring the start of the Tour de France to Devon.
Business leaders are exploring how to raise the £2million said to be required to host the Grand Départ of the iconic cycle race – attracting the cream of world cycling for two to three days of competition.
The move would attempt to build on Britain's emergence as a major power in road cycling after a momentous 12 months saw Bradley Wiggins claim Olympic gold and become the first Briton to wear the coveted yellow jersey on Paris' Champs-Élysées.
Ron Keegan, vice president of Mid Devon Cycling Club – home to Tour of Britain winner and team mate of Wiggins at Sky Jonathan Tiernan-Locke – said he would "love to see" the race back.
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Plymouth-born Tiernan-Locke triumphed to become the first British rider to win the Tour of Britain in 19 years. He went on to scoop an accolade at the Herald's Sports Personality of the Year Awards last month.
Thousands of people lined the route through Okehampton, Tavistock and across Dartmoor in what was described as the most thrilling leg of the competition.
The talks come after Yorkshire successfully won the right to kick off the 2014 Tour de France last month, the first British region to stage the start since London in 2007.
Tim Jones, chairman of the heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, said there had "never been a better time" to talk about a bid.
"We have proved we can do it with the Tour of Britain – which generated an estimated £700,000 for Devon and pulled crowds as large as the Tour de France," he added.
"We need to decide whether the investment required to host the premier event in world cycling would be justified and whether we could get the benefits.
The talks also come just months after The Herald reported the possibility of a Plymouth bid to host the Turner Prize in 2015 and to become City of Culture in 2017 which, if successful, could see the city hosting events like the Brit Awards and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony.