London’s transport bosses are in secret discussions with Tour de France organiser ASO to host the first stage of the 2017 Tour de France, according to the Evening Standard.
The paper reports that departing Transport for London chief Sir Peter Hendy and head of surface transport Leon Daniels have been in talks with the organiser after the success of Yorkshire’s Grand Départ in 2014.
Should the race come back to London it would mark a decade since it last started in the capital, with Fabian Cancellara winning the opening prologue back in 2007.
In that year the first two stages took place in London and Kent, before heading over the Channel for the remaining 19 stages.
ITV4 commentator Ned Boulting told the Standard: “The ASO are not focusing on the UK for no reason. They know we are the biggest growth market for cycling.
“The 2007 Grand Depart was a big event but it had no impact on the wider sporting public or national consciousness — it was just something that the cycling community celebrated. But 2017 would be a colossal national event like we saw in Yorkshire last year.”
Race director Christian Prudhomme revealed earlier this year that four German cities had expressed an interest in hosting a stage in 2017, which would likely prove strong opposition to the UK hosting again.
The opposition would not only come from the world of cycling, according to the Standard, with some cycle campaigners reportedly suggesting the millions of pounds required to host the Tour would be better spent increasing road safety.
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