Mayor of London Boris Johnson says the £35m needed to host the Tour de France in 2017 would be better spent on other projects

Boris Johnson has said he withdrew London’s bid to host the Grand Depart of the 2017 Tour de France, claiming it didn’t represent value for money.

The Mayor of London says hosting the race would have cost £35m – money that could be better used elsewhere in the city, according to Mr Johnson.

London reportedly beat out bids from Manchester and Edinburgh to host the start of the race, but pulled the plug before signing the contract with race organisers ASO.

“I had to take a very tough decision, obviously painful. In an ideal world, you know me, my policy is to have your cake and eat it,” said Mr Johnson, quoted by the Press Association.

“The difficulty was we had to make a choice. £35 million is an awful lot to spend on a one off event when you could put that money in to long term projects.”

The Mayor is an advocate of cycling in the city and insists the money would be put to better use in improving the cycling infrastructure for residents rather than to host a one-off event.

Transport for London’s Leon Daniels defended the decision to withdraw the city’s bid: “We have always said that the return of the Tour was subject to funding.

“To ensure value for money we must make difficult choices, and on this occasion we have decided that we will not be hosting the Grand Depart in 2017.”

London last hosted the Tour de France in 2014 and also hosted the Grand Depart in 2007.

  • Gooner

    Its not even as if the money he is so apparently putting towards improving cycling is actually working properly. It isn’t. Its a lie, and its money wasted.

  • Gooner

    Once he might have been liked, but his end can’t come soon enough. Good riddance to him.

  • Gooner

    Also, he is quite happy to promote and put £30 million to the vanity project that is the Garden Bridge. Yet he can’t put money towards an event which would showcase cycling in London. A short sighted man, one that will be despised, as will his lackies. .A bully, and an idiotic man. With no common sense.

  • Gooner

    According to Boris Johnson’s team, the matter was wrongly reported and only the cost of a few eurostar fares were involved. They deny ASO was badly treated. Someone is pulling the wool over someone”s eyes. I wonder who?!

  • Nigel Rue

    What’s wrong with the TdF being a French race held entirely in France? It’s not like they are short of space.

  • Ben Alexander

    in 2007 the grand depart from London generated about £75m, you have to think that would be matched and then some in the current climate (inflation & rise in popularity of road cycling).

    Good call Boris you bumbling buffoon. Spend money to make money.

  • EB

    And almost exactly the same cost as Boris is putting into the Boris (garden) Bridge (£30mil & 3mil/yr). After the cable car and Mittal Orbit have flopped why would he not be desperate for a monument that isn’t pathetic.

  • John Westwell

    I’m sure £126 million is the top line number, but I was in Yorkshire for that weekend (which I wouldn’t have been otherwise), and as far as I could see, all the businesses were taking money. In Harrogate on the Saturday lots of shops were open late into the evening (there was a bumper trade in sun cream) and people were queuing around the block to get something to eat after the stage finished.

    If the numbers didn’t add up for London, it’s because they probably can’t attract many more tourists into the city on the back of a single event. So why bid for the Tour? Having done it in 2007 they must have had a very good idea of the financial implications, but they’ve possibly queered the pitch for other British cities by doing this.

  • highrouleur

    I suspect it’s more to do with having to pay for it now, and not seeing any benefit until a new mayor has been elected. No way Boris would sign off on that…

  • ummm…

    maybe this had something to do with yorkshire losing a cool 1M when all was said and done?

  • blemcooper

    That 126 million sounds like a top line number.

    How much profit was there, whether for the WTY organization itself, or the various regional businesses that got more customers and how much additional tax revenue was collected vs the costs?

    The other article here shows the WTY organization is somewhere between 500,000 and 1M *net* in the hole from the 2014 TdF start. How did the 2014 TdY that coincided with it end up?

    I agree that the money for these things should come from commercial interests rather than cycling infrastructure or education budgets, but perhaps they crunched the numbers and it didn’t add up.

  • John Westwell

    The trouble is, London had become the preferred bidder, so Manchester and Edinburgh were both out of the running. Which has probably pissed off ASO big time.

    And to reply to those commenting on the cost, the Tour in Yorkshire last year brought in an estimated £126 million of extra income. The money to fund the bid should have come from tourism/business budgets and not cycling budgets.

  • Stevie

    This might not be the most popular comment but…. I’m rather chuffed that London has withdrawn, the terrain down south doesn’t really result in exciting stages that could potentially effect the overall GC standings. You can only watch a bike race take on box hill so many times :). I’d quiet like to see Edinburgh win the bid and even though I live there, Manchester already has enough cycling events with the tour of Britain passing close pretty much every year, also the tour of Yorkshire and the revolution series. Plus Edinburgh is a beautiful city.

  • William Robison

    With the number of very expensive cycling projects, and the efforts to reduce traffic deaths in London, this was the responsible thing to do.

  • panayis zambellis

    35 mill is nothing compared to the decorative wastage that goes on in london all day long. This decision is suspicious. Tour de France startup is a major event brings a lot of excitement uplifts the mood of millions of people that would have brought much more back and very good value for money in terms of enjoyment to Londoners. Maybe you should get out more on your bike Boris??

  • Mike Prytherch

    I don’t disagree with the decision to pull the plug, it is a lot of money, but why go for it in the first place ! all they have done is waste money, it would’ve cost a lot of money to get this this stage, and then to say… sorry it’s too expensive, incompetence at its best

  • Anthony Jackson

    This is a tough decision to have made and I dont see any problems with Boris, he makes firm solid decisions and then stands by them. £35million is a heck of alot of money for such short term gains and a few days…. I love the TDF and all it’s excesses, but Id like to see the money spent on better planning for all level of cycling in London.

  • blemcooper

    Not being from the UK, I hadn’t kept up to date on this, but did they not know that it was going to cost an awful lot of money when they entered a bid in the first place? Or was the economy in much better shape at the time, and/or did a bunch of commercial sponsors drop out of the bid, leaving the local government holding the bag?

  • d9veNI

    No need for it, we have our own Tour. It’s great now and again, but no need for the TdF fundraiser on a regular basis.

  • Gary Jogela

    About cycling culture in the UK.we were saying…