Francois Hollande, the president of France, has offered his support to the Yorkshire bid for the start stages of the Tour de France in 2016. The support was revealed following a meeting Hollande had with Labour leader Ed Miliband in Paris yesterday.
The meeting was held in the Élysée palace. Milliband is the first UK politician to be hosted by Hollande since he took power in May.
Alongside weightier matters, such as the role of the UK in Europe, Miliband discussed Bradley Wiggins’ triumph in the Tour de France and the bid by Yorkshire.
"The president was very supportive," said Milliband, who is MP for Doncaster North.
"A Tour de France start would be a good thing for Yorkshire. It would be a great thing for my constituency. I am backing Le Bid."
President Hollande said this year the Tour had passed through his former constituency in central Corrèze and agreed it would be a "lovely idea" if it passed through Ed Miliband’s too.
Milliband said there was now a "very realistic prospect" of the race coming to Yorkshire in 2016. The decision for this rests with ASO, organiser of the Tour de France. Having a British winner of the world’s biggest annual sporting event can’t have harmed Yorkshire’s prospects.
Edinburgh is also bidding for a Tour depart.
In 1998 the first three stages of the Tour de France were held in Ireland. Chris Boardman won the opening prologue, staged in Dublin.