A BOLD bid has been made to bring cycling fever to the Cotswolds with the creation of a new stage of the Tour de France.
As thousands of spectators turned out to see the race winds its way around Yorkshire, past famous landmarks in Cambridge and finishing with a final sprint down The Mall in London, politicians are hoping the same scenes could be witnessed in Gloucestershire.
Bourton county councillor Paul Hodgkinson has joined forces with Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood in writing to Tour organisers asking them to consider having a Cotswolds leg of the Tour in the next few years.
In the letter, they have invited them to see the area for themselves and understand the benefits of ‘Le Tour Cotswolds’.
Cllr Hodgkinson, who is a keen cyclist, said the area’s unique scenery would provide a perfect backdrop to the race.
“My vision is for the Tour to start in Chipping Campden, racing down the Fosse Way through Moreton, Stow and Bourton before going through the historic towns of Northleach and Cirencester," he said. "Moving on to Tetbury and the hills of Minchinhampton what a superb advert for the Cotswolds this would be.
“The potential for tourist business is enormous. Shops in Yorkshire have already seen takings going through the roof whilst 1.5 million people lined the route.
"There’s no reason why we can’t replicate and better what is happening so successfully in Yorkshire right now.”
Mr Horwood said Cheltenham would be a fantastic location to end the race.
“The Promenade lends itself to a great sprint to the finish line," he said."The TV images would provide a real show case for the area and be a great event for us all to enjoy."
Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown has given the idea his full backing.
"It would be wonderful if the Tour de France in five years’ time could be routed through The Cotswolds," he said.
Andrew Hutchings, owner of Cotswold Cycles in the Cotswold Business Village, Moreton, said: "I think it would be spectacular. Both for everyone that lives here but also the Tour de France going through places is one of the best ways of advertising ourselves as a tourist destination.
"You get the effect of people coming to watch the tour and the boost to the economy."
Cycle fever is set to sweep though Broadway on September 10 as top cyclists tear through Worcestershire as part of the Tour of Britain.