Did politics scupper 2017 Tour start?

Tour de France in London in 2007Image copyright
Bryn Lennon

Image caption

London hosted a successful Grand Depart in 2007

Lots of people do not understand why Transport for London (TfL) has decided against hosting the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in 2017.

Clearly pulling out at the last minute has considerably angered the organisers the Amaury Sport Organisation. It does not look professional and it could damage London’s reputation for hosting sporting events.

But there other factors at play.

The first is cities and towns have to pay for the privilege to host the Tour.

Yorkshire in 2014 paid £10m mainly through local councils, with central government putting in another £10m.

TfL has paid £6m to host the finish of the Tour’s third stage.

The controversial point for London was this money came out of the cycling safety budget and that angered cycling campaigners.

Image copyright
Oli Scarff

Image caption

The capital also hosted the finish of the Tour’s third stage in 2014 at a cost of about £6m

Also the Tour was supported by the then transport commissioner Sir Peter Hendy, who has now left TfL to join Network Rail.

City Hall was never that keen on the Tour and thought the money could be better spent elsewhere.

Plus, a spending review looms where transport budgets will be cut.

I am told the cost for the London Grand Depart in 2017 would have been roughly £35m, and some of that money would have again come out of the cycling safety budget.

City Hall does not seem to have been convinced by the economic benefits.

Critics will also say an event planned for 2017 is not a priority for the mayor of London who leaves his post next summer.

All of this means politics and money eventually scuppered Le Tour in London in 2017, and it seems very unlikely it will return any time soon.

Image copyright
FRANCK FIFE

Image caption

London beat bids from Edinburgh, Manchester and several German regions to stage the Grand Depart

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-34389824#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

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