Cefin Campbell, Plaid Cymru Member of the Senedd for Mid & West Wales has urged the First Minister to bring the Tour de France to West Wales.
Speaking during First Minister’s Questions last week, Mr. Campbell highlighted West Wales’s growing reputation as a renowned destination for cycling and sporting events – citing the development of the national closed road circuit in Pembrey, the redeveloping of the velodrome in Carmarthen, and annual IRONMAN Wales competition at Tenby.
Since the 1950s, the Tour de France’s prestigious first leg stage – known as the Grand Départ – has typically taken place in a different town, and since the 1970s it has been common to award the Grand Départ to areas outside France as a way of increasing international interest in the competition and the sport.
The 2022 initial stage set to be held in the Hovedstaden region of Denmark, whilst in 2014, West Yorkshire held the event – securing around £130 million into the local economy.
The UK Government previously announced up to £30 million of funding available to try to bring the the 2026 Tour de France Grand Depart to the UK, and in response to Cefin Campbell MS’ question, First Minister, Mark Drakeford confirmed discussions were continuing with England and Scotland to develop a bid to bring the Tour de France to Wales in 2026.
Speaking in the Senedd, Mr Campbell highlighted Carmarthenshire’s previous hosting of stages of the Tour of Britain multi-stage cycling race, whilst Pembrokeshire has also risen in prominence over recent years with Tenby hosting the prestigious Ironman Wales competition on an annual basis prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Commenting after his question to the First Minister, Cefin Campbell MS said:
“Both Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire have risen in prominence over recent years as go-to destinations for major sporting events.
“As we now begin to rebuild following the COVID-19 pandemic, I have little doubt that these beautiful areas of west Wales should be included in any future Welsh Government proposals to host the initial stage of the Tour de France.
“In Yorkshire, and in other areas of Europe such as the Basque Country and Brittany, we have already seen the many economic and cultural benefits associated with hosting this prestigious cycling race, and I will continue to make the case for both counties to be included in any future proposals.”
In response to Mr. Campbell’s question, First Minister, Mark Drakeford MS said:
“Discussions are ongoing, and, of course, as a Government here in Wales, we are doing everything within our power to highlight the possibilities that exist here in Wales. Of course, there are many details still to be discussed with those responsible for the Tour de France, and we are just starting to do that. But, if there are possibilities to bring the tour to Wales, then I know that those interested in cycling would be very excited about that.”