I disagree with Boris Johnson’s decision to pull out of London hosting the first leg of the 2017 Tour de France and believe it will be a huge missed opportunity for the capital. The Mayor had ordered TfL to withdraw from negotiations only a day before the contract was due to be signed.
The decision to withdraw was chaotic in nature and would see London would lose a prime opportunity to showcase itself to the world. The capital will miss out on vast economic benefits. A report on the recent hosting of the Tour first leg in Yorkshire found it contributed almost £130m to the local economy with 4.8m people coming out to line the route. When the Tour was last held in London in 2007, TfL analysis concluded that “in terms of the economic gains, numbers attending and positive media coverage, the Tour de France was an extremely successful UK event.”
Whether the Tour de France, Rugby World Cup or Olympics, these kind of events act as a great shop window for the city and provide vital economic boosts far outweighing the costs. Hosting the event in 2017 would have been another amazing chance to showcase London to the world, turning it down in such a chaotic manner is a huge missed opportunity.
Not only will local businesses miss out on the massive economic benefits to be reaped, we will let another opportunity to promote cycling pass us by. We all know Boris Johnson is a big fan of these kind of events, you can’t help but wonder whether he would be so keen to scrap Le Tour if he wasn’t stepping down as Mayor next year.