Minister Catherine Martin and Minister Gordon Lyons agree to pursue joint North-South Tour de France bid

The island of Ireland intends to pursue a joint North-South bid to host the opening stages of a future Tour de France. Minister Catherine Martin T.D. and Minister Gordon Lyons MLA have today submitted an expression of interest in the formal bidding process to the Tour organisers. Officials in both Departments will now collaborate on the development of a detailed bid to host the event, ideally in either 2026 or 2027.

 

The agreement comes following engagement between Minister Martin and Minister Lyons, most recently last week in Belfast. The Ministers discussed the potential joint bid to host the opening stages of a future Tour de France and they agreed that such an event would have significant tourism, sports and wider benefits for the island of Ireland.

 

Catherine Martin T.D., Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, said:

 

Hosting the world’s greatest cycle race would be an exciting opportunity for the island of Ireland.  I was delighted to meet Minister Lyons again during my recent trip to Belfast and to agree to express a joint interest in hosting three full stages for Le Grand Départ of the Tour de France, ideally in 2026 or 2027. Our shared experience in hosting major sports events, our cooperative approach in marketing the entire island of Ireland as a tourism destination, and the wonderful scenery and céad míle fáilte that awaits visitors to Ireland could all combine to create an amazing all-island event. This collaborative process has my full support and I will engage with colleagues across Government on this in the coming weeks.”

 

Gordon Lyons MLA, Minister for the Economy, welcomed the joint bid by saying:

 

“Securing the opening stages of the Tour de France would be a fantastic opportunity for Northern Ireland to feature on the world stage and add to the growing list of major sporting events that have come here in recent years. People will fondly remember the success of the Giro d’Italia ‘Big Start’ in 2014, and I am confident that together we would be able to successfully host the Grand Depart. Major events such as this not only bring about huge economic benefits but give us a tremendous opportunity to showcase everything that is great about Northern Ireland.”

 

 

 

Notes to Editor:

 

The proposal to explore a joint bid for the Grand Départ builds on previous appearances by cycling’s grand tours on the island; Le Grand Départ came to Ireland in 1998 and then, in 2014, the Giro d’Italia took place largely in Northern Ireland with the 3rd stage finishing in Dublin. Both events proved hugely popular and demonstrated the passion for cycling that exists on both sides of the border.

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