Following two successful visits by the world’s biggest race, London has chosen to pass on an chance to host the Grand Départ of the 2017 Tour de France.
The British capital city had initially beaten several other European cities to host the 2017 Grand Départ but changed their minds due to the cost. The news comes after a February financial report was recently leaked on the inaugural Welcome to Yorkshire bike event. The report included details regarding over-budget costs for the 2014 Yorkshire Tour de France Grand Départ.
"To ensure value for money we must make difficult choices," the managing director of surface transport at Transport for London (TfL), Leon Daniels, told BBC Sport. "We have always said that the return of the Tour was subject to funding."
Daniels did not mention if the Yorkshire financial report had any impact on their decision.
In 2014 Yorkshire hosted the Grand Départ, a successful event with 3.5 million spectators enjoying the three days of racing before the Tour headed to France via London. Following the success of the event, race organisers ASO vowed to return to London as soon as possible after it boosted the local economy by an estimated £100 million according to the organisers.
Prior to 2014, Great Britain had hosted the Grand Départ in 2007 in London. TfL provided £6 million of the £27 million budget. Considering the future costs and potential future national budget cuts for transportation, the city has now decided to bypass the opportunity for 2017.
ASO has not publicly responded nor have they said which city may now be the frontrunner in spite of several reports suggesting Germany may be one. Germany renewed a broadcasting agreement this summer with ASO after a three-year hiatus of skipping the Tour citing doping scandals and poor ratings. The country had a successful Tour with national stars Andre Greipel winning several stages, and Tony Martin winning a stage besides spending a couple of days in yellow before crashing out of the race.
The 2016 Grand Départ will be in France in the Normandy region of La Manche.