PORTSMOUTH’s chances of staging Le Tour have been boosted by Brexit and the shake-up in government, according to a cycling expert.
Richard Gorman, who provided backing for Team CSC Saxo Bank in the 2008 Tour, said the path has been cleared for city leaders to mount a serious challenge in Whitehall for money to fund a bid.
Mr Gorman said: ‘In a strange twist of fate, the UK’s decision to leave the EU may well increase Portsmouth’s chances of hosting the Grand Depart of the race in 2019.
‘For months now, Portsmouth’s main competition to securing the funds it needs has been Yorkshire, with its aspiration to host the UCI World Road Championships in the same year. The government could not fund both.
‘Yorkshire was well known to have strong connections at both the Treasury and UK Sport, but following the vote for Brexit and Theresa May appointing her new cabinet, the lobbying process to secure government backing can start afresh and on a more level playing field.
‘It is now time for our “feisty” local MPs Flick Drummond and Penny Mordaunt to show they can deliver this game-changer for Portsmouth.
‘They need to take a compelling business case to the new chancellor Philip Hammond, and show the new secretary of state for culture media and sport, Karen Bradley, why hosting the 2019 Grand Depart in Portsmouth will be so great for the city, the region and the country.’