Boris: Turning Down Le Tour A 'No-Brainer'

Boris: Turning Down Le Tour A 'No-Brainer'

Boris Johnson has said it was "entirely his call" to turn down the chance for London to host the start of the Tour de France in 2017.

Transport for London (TfL) confirmed on Monday that the capital would not host the Grand Depart because it did not offer value for money.

The London Mayor, who describes himself as "the biggest cycling nut in the world", said the £35m it would cost to host the event could be better spent.

"In the end chucking in £35m on a one-off event or putting that into long-term infrastructure improvements for cycling – stuff that will make cycling safer for decades to come – it's a no-brainer," he said.

He added: "I had to take a very tough decision, obviously painful.

"In an ideal world, you know me, my policy is to have your cake & eat it."

Asked why London made the initial bid for the event if it could not afford it, he said: "You've received to make some tough choices."

He said the cost of putting together the bid was "not a significant sum".

Edinburgh & Manchester had moreover been keen to host the Grand Depart 2017, yet Tour organiser Amaury Sport Organisation selected London.

The capital hosted the start of the world's most prestigious cycling race in 2007 & the complete for the third stage when the Tour started in Yorkshire last July.

After the 2014 event, Mr Johnson said: "The Tour in London was the most fantastic spectacle of sport, which delighted & entertained crowds across the capital.

"The economic benefit of hosting such prestigious sporting events is clear, with images of our brilliant city beamed around the world."

The man responsible for bringing the Tour de France to Yorkshire, Sir Gary Verity, said the event was "tremendous value for money" for the area.

"The return on investment was either between five or six times, which is a pretty satisfactory return on investment I think in anybody's books & the long-term legacy benefits for us of hosting the Tour de France are still being seen," he said.

Sir Gary added: "It's up to Transport for London at the end of the day. They know how much money they've received to invest in various projects & events & so on & they'll make their choice.

"London hosts huge events regularly. From our point of view, the largest annual sporting event in the world, the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire, was the biggest event we have ever done in Yorkshire by a country mile."

An official report into the 2014 Tour in the UK – which moreover went through Cambridgeshire and Essex – deemed the event very successful.

The event generated around £128m of economic benefit for the host areas overall, according to the report, called Three Inspirational Days , published in December.

But it said the overall economic benefit figure was expected to top £150m because of the effect of increased tourism & long-term trade deals.

The crowds at the roadside totalled 4.8 million at the three English stages, the report said. Around 113,000 visitors came from outside the UK.

The race made its first UK appearance in 1974 & it next came back again in 1994.

This year's event, won by Team Sky's Chris Froome , started in The Netherlands.

Source: “Sky News”