By Daniel Hunter
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has hailed an announcement that the Tour de France will return to London in 2014.
The organisers of the Tour have confirmed that the world famous race will take place in London for only the second ever time; and that the capital will host the climax to the British section of the race, which begins in Leeds.
It is five years since London hosted the ‘Grand Depart’ of the Tour de France and the Mayor hopes that the capital will enjoy a similar or even greater economic windfall to the £90m it is estimated was generated by the race throughout London and the southeast in 2007.
The news that the Tour de France will return to London comes only a matter of months after Londoner Bradley Wiggins became the first Briton to win the Tour, and hot on the heels of the capital hosting a hugely successful Olympic and Paralympic Games in which Team GB cyclists put in a series of outstanding performances.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “I am thrilled that the Tour de France will return to the UK and no location could be better than London for what will no doubt be an exhilarating climax to the British section of the race. This year we proved our expertise not just in hosting world class sporting events, but in winning them too, and I am sure Bradley Wiggins and several of his compatriots will be hugely excited at the prospect of the Tour returning to their home streets.”
Christian Prudhomme, the Tour de France Director, said: “The Grand Départ 2007 in London is an unforgettable memory for the Tour de France. It was a resounding popular success and the riders’ journey past such emblematic places as Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and also Tower Bridge contributed to the splendour of the event. Bradley Wiggins’ historic victory last July, the immense enthusiasm in the streets of London during the cycling events at the Olympic Games and the excellent relations we enjoy with our contacts in London are all determining factors that encouraged us to return, seven years later, to the British capital. There is no doubt that it will once again be a major event enthusiastically welcomed by Londoners.
Cycling is becoming ever more popular in London and in 2013 the capital is set to host its own two day world class festival of cycling. RideLondon will feature a series of events for amateur, club and elite cyclists, and it is believed hosting RideLondon and the Tour de France is likely to inspire thousands more Londoners to take to two wheels.
RideLondon will take place over the weekend beginning 3 August 2013, one year on from the 2012 Games. It is also predicted to generate tens of millions of economic benefits for the capital and will include a 100 mile road ride that begins in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
With record numbers of cyclists in London the Mayor is soon to release his vision for the future of cycling in the capital. The Transport for London Business Plan outlines how the Mayor intends to transform cycling in London by investing a total of around £913 million in cycling over the next decade - representing the greatest investment in cycling that the UK has seen.
London’s Transport Commissioner, Peter Hendy CBE said: “I’m delighted the Tour de France and the famous Yellow Jersey will return to the capital’s streets in 2014. When London hosted the Tour De France Grand Départ in 2007 we had a spectacular weekend. Millions lined the streets and it significantly boosted the number of people cycling in the capital.
“The Tour de France is the largest annual sporting event in the world. Like the London 2012 Games, it will showcase our city as a world class visitor destination and has the power to inspire even more Londoners on to two wheels, particularly following the heroic successes of Great Britain’s world class riders.”
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