PLANS are in place for Renfrewshire to stage its own version of the world-famous Tour de France cycle race.

Millions of people tune in each year to watch the world’s best cyclists battle it out for the yellow jersey across 21 gruelling stages.

And there could soon be a chance for people in Renfrewshire to saddle up and try to pedal their way to glory right on their doorstep.

Councillor Andy Steel, who represents Johnstone South and Elderslie for the SNP, is leading the bid to bring a mass cycling event to the local area.

His motion was passed by Renfrewshire Council at its latest meeting, with the local authority now beginning to devise plans for a route around the area, suitable for all ages and abilities.

The race would take place on closed roads, meaning everyone from novice bikers to the next Bradley Wiggins would be able to take part safely.

Cllr Steel said “Clearly there will be logistical issues in closing off roads and these will have to be examined closely as we don’t want to cause inconvenience to residents.

“However, the benefits of developing a culture of cycling in our area can’t be understated.

“Cleaner air, fitter citizens, more tourism – making Renfrewshire a destination for cyclists can only be good for the area and this event could become a central part of that.

“We’ve got a superb array of challenging climbs around our towns and villages, all within a relatively small area. With good connections to the airport, we could be bringing people in from far and wide to take part.”

Cllr Steel has taken inspiration from similar events in Perth, London and Wrexham, which have attracted thousands of people.

And the aim is for Renfrewshire to be staging its race by 2020.

Cllr Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, is confident a mass two-wheeled event would prove popular with local riders.

“The health benefits of exercise, both mental and physical, are well documented and anything the council can do which encourages people to take even a little exercise has got to be a good thing,” said Cllr Hughes, who seconded the motion.

“We’re at the very early stages of this and will want to talk to business, cycling clubs and potential sponsors but it’s an exciting idea and one I hope will catch people’s imaginations.”