The chief executive of Leeds City Council says he believes that the Tour de France could be coming to Yorkshire.
Tom Riordan told the YEP that he believes a recent delegation from the race’s organisers was impressed when it visited Leeds.
He says there is no set date when the city will know if it has won the chance to stage the start of the world’s biggest sporting event but believes that if the cycle race comes to Leeds it could bring in millions of pounds for the city.
A delegation from race organisers ASO has just left Leeds after being shown around the region by tourism body Welcome to Yorkshire.
Other areas are also aiming to stage the start of the race, as are other European cities.
Mr Riordan said that potential venues vie for the chance to stage the race within a cluster of years and he believes Leeds could stage the start of the race in 2017 or 2018.
He told the YEP: “We want Leeds to be the host city.
“We had a really good two days with the delegation and they saw a side of Yorkshire and Leeds that is good.
“The assets we have were attractive to them.
“We have strengthened our bid.”
He added: “If we won it would probably be more like 2017-18 but if we won we would be seeking to do a lot in the run-up.
“I think we can win, I really do, and I believe we can make the Tour come to Leeds and Yorkshire.”
The last time the Tour de France start took place in the UK was in London in 2007. The capital reaped £80m because of the event and Mr Riordan hopes that Leeds could benefit too.
He said: “There would be a huge economic boost. It would sell out the hotels in Leeds for five days if it were to happen.”
Mr Riordan said the Tour de France is the biggest sporting event in the world with TV coverage in 100 countries and the city’s cycling links to domestic events would help sell the bid.