This is an article for the South Wales Evening Post and \Glamorgan Gazette
In a debate in the Assembly last week, I argues that the unique beauty and landscape of Wales would make our country an ideal host for a stage of a future Tour de France.
Major sporting events play an important role in Wales; not only supporting our local economy, but also building a sense of community and cohesion.
The Welsh Government has been unsuccessful to date in a bid to host a stage of the Tour de France, which is disappointing. We need to learn from those areas that have been successful such as Yorkshire so that we can bring this prestigious event to Wales.
From the Millennium Stadium playing host to Rugby World Cup games to golf’s Ryder Cup visiting Newport, Wales has shown its ability to put on successful world-class sporting events. We have already hosted major cycling events, including the Tour of Britain and most recently the National Road Race Championships in Monmouthshire.
The Tour de France is the most prestigious cycling event in the world and hosting a stage of this event would once again put Wales on the world stage. It is estimated that it could benefit the Welsh economy by up to £115 million. It would bring tourists to our nation, boost revenues particularly for independent businesses and would help advertise Wales to the World.
Our mountains and hills and our beautiful scenery makes Wales a challenging and spectacular backdrop for the world's top cyclists to visit. Last year we saw the Tour of Britain come to Wales: we need to ride on the crest of that success and promote Wales as an ideal host for a stage of the Tour de France.