The 2026 Tour de France could be pounding its way through the streets of Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.

Speaking during this week's First Minister’s Questions, Cefin Campbell, the Plaid Cymru member for Mid and West Wales, urged the First Minister to do all he can to ensure that both counties are considered as potential stages in future bids.

“Carmarthenshire has a growing reputation as a renowned destination for cycling,” he said, “particularly with the development of the national closed road circuit in Pembrey and the redeveloping of the velodrome in Carmarthen.

“And as we now begin to rebuild our counties following the pandemic, I have little doubt that these beautiful areas of west Wales should be included in any future Welsh Government proposals to host the initial stage of the Tour de France.“

The prestigious first leg of the race – the Grand Depart – has taken place in a different town since the 1950s.  Since the 1970s however, the race has moved out of France and is allocated to other areas throughout Europe. This is seen as a way of raising the race’s profile and promoting cycling to a much wider audience.

This year’s initial stage will take place in the Hovedstaden region of Denmark while in 2014 it was held in West Yorkshire which secured  around £130 million to the local economy.  

In response to Cefin Campbell’s question, First Minister, Mark Drakeford has confirmed that discussions are continuing with England and Scotland to develop a bid which could see the Tour de France arriving in Wales in 2026. 

“Naturally, there are many issues which need to be discussed, but if there are possibilities to bring the Tour de France to Wales, then we’ll do all we can to make it happen,”  said Mr Drakeford.  “ I know that those interested in cycling will be very excited.” 

For several years, Carmarthenshire has hosted stages of the Tour of Britain multi-stage cycling race, while Pembrokeshire has risen in prominence over recent years with Tenby hosting the prestigious Ironman Wales competition on an annual basis prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.