PORTSMOUTH South MP Flick Drummond has piled pressure on the government to stump up money to fund the city’s bid to host the opening leg of the Tour de France in 2019.
Mrs Drummond made clear the city’s aspirations during a cycling debate in parliament – in the same week Tour director Christian Prudhomme has called on the public to show how much they want to secure the elite race.
Any help the minister can give to ensure that event comes to Portsmouth would be helpful, not least to tourism. Any help – financial or otherwise – would be great.Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond
It comes as The News launched a Bring On Le Tour campaign to help the bid succeed.
It’s anticipated the cost of drawing up a bid would be up to £1.5m – though hosting the spectacle could see the bill rise to £30m.
Addressing cycling minister Robert Goodwill during a debate on whether the government should spend more on cycling, Mrs Drummond said: ‘Another source of inspiration for everyone is the Tour de France, which Portsmouth City Council hopes to bring back to our streets.
‘We were lucky to be visited by the Tour over 20 years ago, and I know that the cyclists and organisers had a fantastic time touring our historic streets in Portsmouth and the beautiful Hampshire countryside.
‘Since then, Portsmouth has seen a huge amount of renewal and the city would like to have the Grand Depart in 2019, to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
‘Any help the minister can give to ensure that event comes to Portsmouth would be helpful, not least to tourism.
‘Any help – financial or otherwise – would be great.’
Leeds MP Greg Mulholland said the cost of staging the three days of the Grand Depart of the Tour de France when in came to Yorkshire in 2014 was £27m, £10m of which came from the government. He said the ‘staggering boost’ to the UK economy was worth £130m. Mrs Drummond said she is now awaiting from Mr Goodwill’s department an answer to her plea for support.
TOUR BOSS BLOWN AWAY BY BRITISH SUPPORT
TOUR de France boss Christian Prudhomme has praised the level of support shown by British fans for the elite cycling spectacle.
And he highlighted the importance of companies like Brittany Ferries, supporting this summer’s Grand Depart from Mont Saint-Michel, getting behind the event.
Speaking to The News, Mr Prudhomme said: ‘The support from Brittany Ferries is very important because the link between Portsmouth and Cherbourg or the other ports in France is very important.
‘I was very impressed last year in Le Havre because there were so many British fans, it was just unbelievable.
‘There were more British fans than French inhabitants.’