“To ensure value for money we must make hard choices”.
Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said: “We have loved hosting the Tour de France in 2007 and 2014, both of which were incredible events that inspired thousands of new cyclists and showcased London as a world class city for cycling”.
And in a further blow for fans of cycling in the United Kingdom, among the bids beaten off by the British capital were proposals from Edinburgh and Manchester, with the race looking likely to begin in Germany the year after next, reports BBC Sport’s Matt Slater.
However, it has emerged that Transport for London (TfL) withdrew its interest prior to the contracts being formally signed last week.
London hosted the Grand Depart in 2007, with Yorkshire accommodating the first stages of the race in 2014 before stage three travelled south to the capital from Cambridge.
The French company Amaury Sport Organisation, which owns the race, are apparently unhappy – as you might well imagine – with London’s decision.
“We have always said that the return of the Tour was subject to funding”.
The 2014 Tour start is regarded as a resounding success, with an estimated four million spectators attending the first two stages in Yorkshire and a reported boost to the local economy of £100 million.
It also found the Grand Depart generated more than £128 million of economic benefit for the host areas overall, with £102 million for Yorkshire and £30 million for Cambridgeshire, Essex and London.
London has declined the chance to host the start of the 2017 Tour de France due to financial reasons.
Given the upfront costs and the prospect of major cuts to transport spending across the United Kingdom later this year, it is understood bosses at TfL and the Greater London Authority, its parent body, decided the city could not afford a third visit from the world’s biggest bike race.