Tour de France boosts cycling in London

By Rosee Woodland, commuting editor | Wednesday, November 28, 2007 11.00am

The Tour de France has left its mark on London, with a 10 per cent increase in cycling in the UK capital. And on Wednesday it was confirmed that negotiations are on track to bring the race back to London before the 2012 Olympics.

July's Grand Depart saw three million spectators descend on London and the Kent countryside, to watch the first three days of the world-renowned event, bringing in £88million in tourist and team spending. Figures published today show a longer lasting impact. Between April and September there were 10.5 per cent more people cycling in London than at the same time last year - some 48,000 extra journeys every day.

London mayor Ken Livingstone said, "Bringing the Tour de France to London has been hugely successful, boosting cycling and showing Londoners' huge interest in watching and participating in sport that is growing as we approach the 2012 Games.

"As well as demonstrating that great sporting events can inspire people to take up physical activity, the success of the Tour de France also shows the economic benefits that these types of event can bring to London. The Tour has generated well over £100 million in spending and publicity, which will in turn attract more visitors and encourage the organisers of future sporting events to choose London."

In a survey during the Grand Depart 50 per cent of spectators said they would cycle more as a result of the Tour's visit to London.

It was also confirmed today that negotiations have begun with the Amaury Sport Organisation, owners of the Tour de France, to bring the Tour de France back to London ahead of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.

Mr Livingstone has set his sights on turning London into a cycling city, with a goal of an 80 per cent increase by 2010. In the last seven years there has been an 83 per cent increase in cycling, but still only a tiny minority travel by bike, so the latest figures are good news for the mayor's office.

The new figures are contained in a report published on Wednesday by Transport for London, which reviews the success of the Tour de France against the Mayor and TfL's objectives.

Peter Hendy, London's Transport Commissioner, said, "The Grand Départ was an amazing weekend, the Tour organisers, media, riders and spectators said it was the greatest start the Tour had ever had. We are working to bring the Tour back to London as soon as possible."

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