THE MAN who sponsored the team that won the 2008 Tour de France says Portsmouth has proved it has the passion to stage the cycling spectacle.
Richard Gorman, who provided backing for Team CSC Saxo Bank, says the city stepped up to the mark at the Pearl Izumi Tour Series last week and showed it is ready for Le Tour.
ASO (Le Tour’s organisers) challenged Portsmouth to show its passion for cycling, and at the Tour series finale, the people of the south coast demonstrated that passion by the bucket load.Richard Gorman
And he has stepped up pressure on the government to award Portsmouth the £1.5m it needs to create an official bid to host the event’s Grand Depart in 2019.
It comes after Le Tour boss Christian Prudhomme challenged the people of Portsmouth to show how much they wanted to see the start of the world’s greatest cycling race come to the Solent region.
Mr Gorman said: ‘ASO (Le Tour’s organisers) challenged Portsmouth to show its passion for cycling, and at the Tour series finale.
‘The people of the south coast demonstrated that passion by the bucket-load.
‘The atmosphere was as good as anything I’ve seen at any stage at the Tour de France.
‘Both Portsmouth City Council and the tour series organisers Sweetspot should be congratulated for doing an absolutely fantastic job.
‘If the city wants to win the 2019 Grand Depart, then this is exactly the way to do it.
‘It all comes down now to the government getting behind Portsmouth and backing its bid, a bid that I have every confidence that the city will win.’
As reported, Tory council leader Donna Jones says a business case is being worked on which will be taken to the Treasury in the hope it will provide funding.
The council has said it has no intention of putting funding into the project, which means it won’t get off the ground unless the government helps.