Word is filtering out over Twitter that ASO has visited Scotland, Wales and the like in consideration of a rather epic UK Tour de France Grand Depart, either in 2014 or 2015. CyclingWeekly has sent out the following:
* The race would start in Edinburgh, but it's not clear how long the peloton would linger in Scotland. Day 1 would be a mass start stage, not a prologue.
* Manchester and Wales would be on the docket for the second and third days.
* A fourth day would end up in southeast England, in place for a quick transfer to France.
Author Richard Moore, a Scot, has suggested that this began as a Scottish-led effort, and there might be some friction if Edinburgh does a race start and the Tour leaves for England a couple hours later. Even knowing nothing about Scotland, I can imagine a truly delightful stage leaving Edinburgh, heading up to Loch Lomond or some beautiful hilly place, and ending in Glasgow. That would be seriously memorable. Doable? Big city centers present a lot of costly headaches for Tour stages, so something less downtown-ish would be more likely. But ultimately money drives these decisions, and if the cash is down south, then the race will be too.
Moore also notes that with no prologue for 2013 and a sense by Prudhomme that prologues don't draw fans, we might see the marginalization of that discipline. Which is fine with me. The only time they're entertaining is when Fabian Cancellara and a sluggish moto are involved.
However this works out, it's bound to be successful from a viewing standpoint. London has had all the fun, dating back to the 2007 Depart, but Manchester is the heart of British cycling and deserves a stage. Wales is supposedly lovely and will make for a nice backdrop. Logistically, Britain is now easy driving distance from France, no more of a hassle than starting in Belgium, so it won't put a crimp in the race's side. On the heels of massive British success in the Tour, it all makes excellent sense.
But Scotland. Do a real stage there please. Not just for Richard, but for everyone to whom cycling is sometimes a lovely ride through the country.