Portsmouth leaders visit Caen to work up Tour de France bid

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CITY leaders have stepped up the bid to bring the Tour de France to Portsmouth.

Council leader Donna Jones and culture, leisure and sport boss Linda Symes met the Mayor of Caen Joel Bruneau in the French commune yesterday to discuss how the city can play a part in the world’s greatest cycling race.

Portsmouth is twinned with Caen and both regions are seeking to launch a joint proposal to get part of the race to the south coast. If successful, the move could bring in tens of millions of pounds to both Portsmouth and Caen.

Cllr Jones told The News she was encouraged by the meeting and hopes parts of the tour can reach Portsmouth in 2019.

Cllr Jones was due to return to England today and says she’s keen to lobby ministers and tour bosses to push the idea forward.

The proposal for the joint bid has been backed by Brittany Ferries.

The tour last visited the city in 1994 when it hosted the start and finish of Stage 5.

Portsmouth and Caen have also been involved in talks with organisers of the Tour de Yorkshire.