Some powerful forces are reportedly at work to bring some opening stages of the Tour de France to Norway in 2022. Norwegian state-owned oil company Statoil may help finance the effort that would show off Norwegian scenery to the rest of the world.
Norwegian website procycling.no reported this week that Statoil is keen to fund at least some of the costs of mounting a Tour de France stage between its headquarters city of Stavanger on the West Coast and Oslo, where many of its executives are based.
The two cities reportedly have plans to team up on a bid for three stages of the world’s greatest cycling race that earlier has had opening stages in London and, this year, in Germany. State broadcaster NRK reported that Culture Minister Linda Hofstad Helleland would love to see the race roll over portions of Norway’s scenic Atlanterhavs highway south of Kristiansund, while other stages could roll over the mountains of Southern Norway. Harald Tiedemann Hansen, president of Norway’s cycling association, told procycling.no that hosting the start of a Tour de France would present “great opportunities” for Norway.
Hotel and restaurant owners in Bergen, however, may disagree. Bergen is hosting this year’s cycling World Championships in September and so far, bookings are scant. Thousands of hotel rooms Bergen remain available and local restaurants told NRK this week that they see no increase in table reservations during the championships which begin on September 16.