The last Tour de France in Portsmouth - 20 years ago

The Tour in Portsmouth in 1994
The Tour in Portsmouth in 1994

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PORTSMOUTH had never seen anything like it before.

The Tour de France last came to these shores on Thursday, July 7, 1994, and it was a day many will never forget.

The 116-mile race started and ended in Portsmouth and it was quite a sight as the world’s best riders emerged from the Historic Dockyard, passing HMS Victory as they went.

City leaders are now in talks about Portsmouth hosting a stage of the tour in 2018, which would bring tens of millions of pounds to boost the economy of the city and surrounding areas.

Thousands of people lined the streets of the route for the 1994 event, as offices were abandoned and schools closed.

The route took in Wickham, Bishop’s Waltham, Winchester and Andover before arching round to Basingstoke and back south to Portsmouth.

Roger De Vere, from Fareham Wheelers, remembers fondly hundreds of people lining the streets of Swanmore to see the peloton shoot past.

After fours hours and ten minutes, the winner was the Italian road racer Nicola Minali.

Kevin Briscoe, from the Chamber of Commerce, said: ‘I can remember when it was last here and it created a
fantastic atmosphere and a huge amount of focus on what we do in our region.’