London paid £7 million to host the Grand Depart in 2007, but apparently the cost for 2017 would have risen to £35million.
The difficulty was we had to make a choice – £35m is an very bad lot to spend on a one off event when you could put that money in to long term projects.
Boris Johnson says he is responsible for the last-minute about-turn to withdraw London’s bid to host the Grand Depart of the 2017 Tour de France – a decision that may have disappointed many cycling fans, as well as a few political rivals, but which has been applauded by campaigners.
Work is now underway on two new cycle lanes in London, but TfL underspent its cycling budget between 2008 – 2014 by an astonishing £150m.
It is believed that both TfL bosses and the Greater London Authority made the decision ahead of prospective cuts to transport spending later this year.
Edinburgh and Manchester have also noted interest in hosting the Grand Depart and Tour organiser Amaury Sports Organisation is keen to exploit Britain’s love of the sport.
As cycling grows in popularity, events such as the Tour de France cement the idea of London as a cycle-friendly city – something which is desperately needed to help reduce chronic congestion and sky-high levels of pollution.
Justifying the decision to BBC Sport, Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport at TfL, added: ‘To ensure value for money we must make hard choices.
He said: “From our point of view, it was tremendous value for money previous year”.
Sir Gary added: “It’s up to Transport for London at the end of the day”.
“That said, why bid in the first place?” “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”.
But it said the overall economic benefit figure was expected to top £150m because of the effect of increased tourism and long-term trade deals.
When Yorkshire had the honour of getting the race up and running in 2014, the total cost for staging the three English stages was £27 million. Around 113,000 visitors came from outside the UK.