ATHLETICS legend Brendan Foster last night admitted Liverpool deserved to become European Capital of Culture 2008, despite his Newcastle roots.
Mr Foster, now a promoter and BBC sports commentator, said the better bid won.
He was in Liverpool to promote the Great Liverpool Triathlon to be held on September 5 at the Albert Dock.
His public backing for Liverpool was all the more significant given the fact he was an adviser to Liverpool's main rival, Newcastle, in its bid for Capital of Culture.
Mr Foster was gracious in defeat when speaking about why Liverpool was the better city.
He said: "I live in Newcastle, so naturally I was supporting their bid as a local resident.
"But when I came to Liverpool and met the people from the press office and the council and had a look around the city it became obvious it was the better candidate." This is reflected in the decision of triathlon organisers, Nova International, to host the event in the Albert Dock.
The organisers are convinced the event will prove a major hit on Merseyside.
John Caine, special projects director of Nova International, said: "We are very confident Liverpool, with its superb facilities, event management expertise and world famous backdrop will provide an excellent location for the Great Liverpool Triathlon."
This news was enforced at the news conference yesterday when the Liverpool Culture Company announced the triathlon will also be the focus of a one-hour special on BBC's Grandstand.
Mr Foster, who is also chairman of Nova International, will be covering the event for the BBC.
He said: "The fact the event will be on Grandstand will make Liverpool the star of the show.
"With the backdrop of the Liver Building and the waterfront, it's a great setting for the event.
"People may have heard about Liverpool but might not know what it looks like, and now they will."
A world class field of triathletes will descend on the city in September for the British championships, the first major triathlon after the 2004 Athens Olympics.
There will be four races: an elite event for men and women, an open, and a junior race for 16-18-year-olds.
City council leader Mike Storey said: "I'm delighted Liverpool is to host the British triathlon championships. The event will act as an excellent showcase for the city's sporting prowess as well as the huge changes taking place in Liverpool."