London Mayor starts Tour talks

London's Mayor Ken Livingstone has started talks to bring the Tour de France back to the English capital.

London's Mayor Ken Livingstone has started talks to bring the Tour de France back to the English capital.

Livingstone insists the doping scandals that tainted the Tour would not stop him attempting to secure a return for the event, which got underway in London this year.

Alexandre Vinokourov and Cristian Moreni were forced to quit over blood doping and testosterone respectively, while Michael Rasmussen was sacked by his Rabobank team while leading in a row over missed drug tests.

That controversy did not detract from the Grand Depart's successful staging in London and and Livingstone has already begun discussions to host another stage of the Tour before 2010.

He said: "It is an absolutely amazing race. We have made it clear that we want them to come back for the Grand Depart as soon as possible, but that is probably not for another six years.

"We have also been negotiating with them to see if we can get a stage coming through London before 2010."

Livingstone is adamant the profile of the Tour, eventually won by Spain's Alberto Contador, would not be ruined by the drugs use of a section of the riders.

"It is a unique event," he said. "There are people who break the rules in every profession.

"I do not think that a small handful of riders that are breaking the rules diminishes those riders who finish the course."

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