GRAND DEPART SUCCESS BODES WELL FOR FUTURE
Published 12 July 2007
The Grand Depart has brought the spotlight back on cycling and the UK’s successful hosting of a complex major sporting event, with the support of UK Sport’s World Class Events Programme.
London’s ambitious plans to host the Grand Depart were under intense scrutiny heading into last weekend’s events – with the city emerging more confident that the race will return following the enthusiastic welcome by UK and visiting fans. The two weekend stages drew an estimated four million people to the heart of London and to all roadside vantage points throughout stage one in Kent.
Spectators in central London were also treated to a host of local events taking place, with thousands keeping up with the race coverage on big screens in the people’s village. UK Sport’s 100% ME programme for anti-doping education was also on site heightening awareness of the benefits of drug-free sport.
UK Sport’s International Director, John Scott, said the wider benefits from hosting the tour would be felt well into the future:
“Now that the challenge of hosting the tour has been met we can look forward to planning for other events on a similar scale. The UK’s track record as an innovative host is a great source of competitive advantage when we look to support other event bids on the horizon.”
Speaking to UK media this week Tour de France General Director, Christian Prudhomme, indicated that the UK will have a role to play in the future of the great race: "I do not know when we will come back but one thing is certain. It is not possible for us not to return”, he said.
It is now anticipated that London will be considered as a host city again following the 2012 games. The Grand Depart is sparingly awarded to regions outside France - only twice in five years, ensuring that many other centres will be vying to emulate the capital’s success.
The peloton embarks on stage five of the tour today (July 12) with Britain’s David Millar in fourth position overall closely followed by Bradley Wiggins in sixth.