The cost to London of hosting the Tour de France could be as high as £30 million, it can be revealed.
This is almost six times the £5.2 million the capital paid towards the £7.5 million total cost of hosting the three-day Grand Depart in London and Kent in 2007.
Boris Johnson is now carefully assessing whether to proceed with a bid for the opening stages of the 2017 Tour as he checks whether it provides value for money.
A key factor is whether the money would be drawn from City Hall’s £913 million 10-year cycling budget – thought to be unlikely – or another source. Some are opposed to spending cash earmarked for making roads and junctions safer on a professional cycle race.
It is also understood that a London bid would not receive any financial support from the Government. Last year it gave local authorities in Yorkshire, Cambridge and Essex £10 million to cover the cost of hosting the race. London did not receive any of this cash, leaving Transport for London to pick up the bill for the closing day of the third stage of the Tour.
According to research commissioned by TfL, the 2007 Grand Depart was watched by three million people and generated an estimated £123 million economic boost.
Even if London does submit a bid, it is expected to face a battle with up to four German cities also said to be interested in hosting the prestigious 2017 opening stages.
Tour director Christian Prudhomme confirmed to ITV’s Ned Boulting last night that Manchester and Scotland had also expressed an interest in the 2017 Grand Depart, as well as cities in France and Belgium (see video above).
The Mayor’s official spokesman said: “He’s supportive in principal but wants to see how this benefits London economically and if it genuinely boosts cycling participation.
“The Mayor has to balance costs associated with the Tour against the vital work of making cycling safer and more accessible across London.
“If the Tour can help that then it’s something he would consider carefully, but it mustn’t be at the expense of our £913m support for wider cycling participation.”