Bid to bring Tour de France to Surrey
The Tour de France could be coming to Surrey following the huge success of the Olympic road races and time trials in the county.
Surrey County Council (SCC) announced yesterday that it is planning to bid to host a stage of the prestigious cycling challenge following Team GB’s success on the county’s roads.
Bradley Wiggins became the country’s most decorated Olympian ever when he won gold in the time trial on Monday - just two weeks after winning the Tour de France.
Tens of thousands of people lined the streets of Leatherhead, Dorking, Box Hill and Esher, to watch cycling stars, including Lizzie Armitstead and Chris Froome, power through and the council believes the success of the Olympic events can be repeated for the world famous event.
Councillor David Hodge, leader of SCC, said: "Surrey has been the epicentre of world cycling over the past few days, cementing the county’s reputation as a world-class place to ride.
"We’re looking at putting together a bid to host a stage of the Tour de France to build on the success of the Olympic cycle races.
"In September, we’ll be welcoming elite cycling back to Surrey when we host a stage of the Tour of Britain."
Roads in Surrey opened ahead of schedule or on time following two years of preparation for the events.
Coun Hodge added: "We’ve had huge crowds supporting the Olympic cyclists in recent days.
"People have been fantastic and showed their enthusiasm for the sport.
"Thanks to everyone’s efforts disruption was kept to a minimum and we showed Surrey off to the world.
"I’m delighted that by hosting these events Surrey played its part in helping Team GB’s medal winners create Olympic history on our doorsteps.
"I’d like to thank the people of Surrey for their patience and understanding during the last few days.
"I hope they enjoyed seeing such wonderful Olympic events for free in their neighbourhoods.
"The success of the events is also down to organisations across Surrey including the police and borough and district councils working closely together."
Richard Varian, of the Epsom Cycling Club, said hosting part of the Tour de France would boost the already popular sport of cycling in the county.
He said: "It would encourage other young cyclists and get more people interested in it.
"Surrey has undulating roads which give a complete mix of the road types needed for the cyclists to ride on.
"The Olympic road races and the time trial were impressive - very exciting and well-prepared. The atmosphere was fantastic."