Organisers rubbish claims that Thailand could host Tour de France

Audacious bid to take Tour to Asia turns out to be a misunderstanding

Champs Elysees, Tour de France 2014

Tour de France 2014

(Image credit: Watson)
The Tour peleton rides past the Arc de Triomphe in 2014 — and it seems it will in 2016 too
(Image credit: Watson)

Story by Jack Beavis

Earlier this week it seemed as if the Tour de France could make its debut outside of Europe when Thailand announced its bid to host the race in 2016. However race organiser ASO has dismissed the claims, saying that it had merely discussed a new criterium, not the Tour itself.

The country's Tourism Authority described Thailand as the "perfect location", but seemed to have got the message lost in translation. TAT governor Thawatchai Arunyik told Reuters: “We’re not sure yet how many stages we will hold, whether it is one or two stages or the whole competition. This is something that still needs to be discussed.”

Turns out that wasn't the only thing yet to be decided upon.

Far from allowing Thailand to host the whole race, the ASO halted speculation the Tour would visit the Asian country at all. “There are talks indeed, but not to bring the Tour to Thailand," a spokesman told Reuters. “There are discussions to settle in Thailand via a criterium, just like we did in Japan with the 'Saitama Criterium by Le Tour de France’.

Thailand’s enthusiastic bid was released on Thursday after talks with ASO chairman Jean-Etienne Amaury in Paris a month earlier.

The 2015 Grand Depart will take part in Utrecht, following the most northerly Grand Depart in Yorkshire this year. It will be the 21st occasion the race has started outside of France.

As cycling continues to globalise there has been much speculation as to whether it is possible to take the Tour de France away from Europe. But it seems it won't be Thailand — not yet, anyway.

More from the Tour de France

Thailand bids to host Tour de France

The Thailand tourism board are in talks with ASO about bringing the Tour de France to Asia for the first

Alberto Contador aiming for Giro d'Italia and Tour de France in 2015

Alberto Contador aiming for three consecutive Grand Tours after winning 2014 Vuelta a Espana

Tour de France route rumours: 2015 stage finish to commemorate Eddy Merckx’s defeat

Rumour has it that the ski village of Pra-Loup will host the finale of stage 20 of the 2015 Tour

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1