UK culture, media and sport secretary John Whittingdale has lent his support for Portsmouth’s 2019 Tour de France Grand Depart bid “in principle”, reports Portsmouth.co.uk.
Having met with city council leader Donna Jones and the city’s MP Flick Drummond at the Houses of Parliament, Whittingdale was said to be behind the project subject to a tidying up of the business case for hosting the race.
“We’ve got to make sure that the business case is watertight,” said Drummond, who will be tasked with presenting the case to the chancellor. Government cash will be used to fund the UK stages if the plan gets the go ahead.
Brittany Ferries has been touted as a possible sponsor should the Grand Depart begin on the UK’s south coast.
In 2014, Yorkshire playing host to the Grand Depart earned the UK economy £130 million.
In other Tour news, French winemakers could block the 2016 race’s passage if a sponsorship agreement is not torn up.