Ireland and Northern Ireland declared in 2022 that they would submit a cross-border bid to host the Tour de France Grand Départ in 2026 or 2027, but the process fizzled out amid budget pressures, the Irish Independent reported this week.
A spokesperson for Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and Sport Ireland confirmed to the Irish Independent that the numerous discussions regarding the proposal with their counterparts in the North and with Tour de France organisers ASO collapsed after the Department for the Economy in the North informed the partners they would have to withdraw.
“Given that the project was envisaged as a north-south all-island initiative, the Department is not in a position to proceed beyond the planning stage at this time but will maintain contact with the Tour de France organisers with a view to a potential future bid,” the statement read.
“The Tour de France organisers are aware of this position and of the Department’s openness to reviving the joint-hosting proposal at a future point.”
The Tour de France started in Ireland in 1998 with two stages in Dublin and one to Cork before riders and teams transferred to France overnight.
Grand Tours were allowed to add an extra rest day for foreign starts, and the Giro d’Italia organisers took advantage of this during Ireland’s last cross-border Grand Tour stages in Belfast and Dublin.
The Tour de France visited the United Kingdom in 2007, when London hosted the start, and 2014 when Yorkshire held the Grand Départ.