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 time

The peloton on stage nineteen of the 2014 Tour de France
(Image credit: Graham Watson)

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) have said they are in talks with Tour de France organisers, the Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO), about bringing the world's biggest bike to Asia for the first time in its history.

A senior tourism official told Reuters (opens in new tab) on Thursday that they were confident of being able to bring the Tour to Thailand in 2016, after successful talks with Jean-Etienne Amaury, the chairman of ASO.

"We are still talking with Tour de France organisers but we are looking at next fiscal year. So 2016, not 2015," Thawatchai Arunyik,  governor of TAT said.

"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.

"Thailand is the perfect location for this highly prestigious competition, not to mention that cycling as a sport is enjoying enormous popularity here at the moment," said Arunyik.

While ASO have yet to comment on the story, it seems likely that they will continue to expand the Tour's reach to other countries as more and more nations express interest in hosting the bike race.

2015 will be the 21st time the Tour de France has started outside its home country, with the Grand Depart to take place in Utrecht in the Netherlands.

The UK hosted the Tour in 2014 for the second time ever, with a successful Grand Depart staged in Yorkshire.

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Richard Windsor

Follow on Twitter: @richwindy

Richard is digital editor of Cycling Weekly. Joining the team in 2013, Richard became editor of the website in 2014 and coordinates site content and strategy, leading the news team in coverage of the world's biggest races and working with the tech editor to deliver comprehensive buying guides, reviews, and the latest product news.

An occasional racer, Richard spends most of his time preparing for long-distance touring rides these days, or getting out to the Surrey Hills on the weekend on his Specialized Tarmac SL6 (with an obligatory pub stop of course).