Quebec City wants to host Tour de France stage

The Tour de France -- the world's most prestigious cycling event -- could be hitting Canadian roads in 2008 if some Quebec City officials have their way.

Quebec City is bidding to host a stage of the Tour de France to coincide with the city's 400th anniversary, said Mayor Jean-Paul L'Allier. It would mark the first time the cycling race would be held outside of Europe.

Parts of the multi-stage event have been held in countries neighbouring France but never outside Europe.

"I thought I'd invite them (the French) to come and wish us happy birthday," L'Allier said in an interview.

"We'll be celebrating the 400th anniversary of the birth of French-speaking America.

"The Tour de France is the most important French sporting event, and it is the most important cycling event in the world."

A Tour de France official, speaking from Paris on condition of anonymity, confirmed Quebec City has asked to host part of the 2008 race.

The official added that the city has made a preliminary request. A more formal application is expected down the road.

The Tour de France celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

with files from Canadian Press