Tour de France could return to UK in 2021, leaked documents reveal

UK Sport considering bidding for 2021 Tour de France stages, as well as numerous other cycling events

Big crowds for the Tour de France's visit to Yorkshire. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

The Tour de France could return to the UK in 2021 as one of a number of cycling events that UK Sport is aiming to bring to British shores over the next seven years.

Confidential plans revealed by BBC Sport show that the national sporting organisation is aiming to bring seven major cycling events to the UK in the coming years.

Chief among those are stages of the Tour de France in 2021, although the document does not reveal whether UK Sport hopes to bring the Grand Depart back to the UK after the success of the 2014 event in Yorkshire, or host stages midway through the race, something which has not happened in the UK since 1994.

Since the huge success of the Yorkshire Grand Depart in 2014, there have been consistent rumours about a possible return to the UK for the Tour.

>>> Tour de France 2018 route: What we know so far

Portsmouth withdrew a bid for the start of the 2019 race, while the Welsh government has also been in talks with Tour organisers ASO and Giro d'Italia organisers RCS Sport.

The Tour de France was also close to returning to London in 2017, ten years on from the first Grand Depart in the city in 2007, with the capital pulling out at the very last minute after the then Mayor Boris Johnson raised concerns over the reported £35million cost.

On the track, UK Sport hopes to bring rounds of the Track Cycling World Cup and Para C1 Track Cycling World Cup to the UK in 2018, 2019, and 2020, as well as the World Track Cycling Championships in 2024 and the World Para Track Cycling World Championships in 2020.

Rounds of the BMX World Cup could also be heading this way in 2019 and 2020 and the World Mountain Bike Championships in 2022.

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Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.