David Millar prologue

Dublin did it in 1998, London did it this summer ? now Scotland wants a piece of the action and is in negotiations to host the Tour de France's Grand Départ.

Christian Prudhomme mentioned that officials from Scotland had contacted Amaury Sport Organisation about the possibility earlier in the autumn, following the success of the London start.

And EventScotland, a national agency that works on behalf of the Scottish Parliament to promote events in the country, confirmed talks are underway.

Leon Thompson, EventScotland corporate communications manager, said this morning: "EventScotland recently met with representatives from the Tour de France to discuss the possibility of Scotland staging a future Grand Départ.

"Discussions are at an early stage, however, the national events agency is keen to explore with the Tour in more detail the possibility of bringing this iconic world-class event to Scotland in future."

There are no further details as to which city would host the start ? although logistically the big cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh would be favourites.

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Sports journalist Lionel Birnie has written professionally for Sunday Times, Procycling and of course Cycling Weekly. He is also an author, publisher, and co-founder of The Cycling Podcast. His first experience covering the Tour de France came in 1999, and he has presented The Cycling Podcast with Richard Moore and Daniel Friebe since 2013. He founded Peloton Publishing in 2010 and has ghostwritten and published the autobiography of Sean Kelly, as well as a number of other sports icons.