Tourism chiefs will bid to host the opening stages of the Tour de France in Scotland.
EventScotland will collaborate with British Cycling UK to develop a formal proposal to stage the Grand Depart in Edinburgh, before the race heads south.
The organisation has been working towards bringing the tour to Scotland for a number of years, aiming to keep it in the UK for as long as possible.
Watched by around two billion people every year and attracting up to two million spectators to watch the opening stage, the Tour de France is one of the world’s largest sporting events.
The tour was last in the UK in 2007, when London and Kent hosted the Grand Depart and opening stages.
Officials expect 2017 to be an opportunity for another ‘mega-event’ following the 2012 Olympic Games and 2014 Commonwealth Games, and the proposal has received full backing from the Scottish Government.
First Minister Alex Salmond said: "Scotland has a strong relationship with the international cycling community, and I am delighted that a proposal is being developed for the opening stages of the Tour de France.
"To bring such a fantastic event to Scotland would be a huge coup, but we have a strong track record and I know that the country has a huge amount to offer ASO and the cyclists taking part.
"The Scottish Government is committed to supporting major international events, and I have no doubt that the combined expertise of the UK partners would lead to a first-class opening stage of the Tour."
Discussions are currently ongoing between UK partners and tour organisers, with particular support from UK Sport.
Simon Morton, director of Major Events and International Relations at UK Sport, said: "Our ambition after the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is to attract some of the world’s most prestigious sporting events to the UK and cement our position as one of the world’s leading host nations. We have already secured the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow and 2017 World Athletics Championships in London, to name a few.
"The Tour de France is a spectacular competition, and would provide a fantastic opportunity to engage the British public in the sport, so we welcome the opportunity to work with EventScotland and British Cycling to look at bringing the opening stages to the UK in 2017."
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