A delegation from London was at the Paris prologue of this year’s Tour. As well as representatives of Transport for London, there were also key players such as high-ups from the Metropolitan Police.
Transport for London offers a ‘no comment’ when asked whether their bid is likely to be successful, but sources close to the bid team reveal that there’s extreme optimism that London can close a deal with ASO.
Ken Livingstone would have to pledge millions of pounds to attract the Tour to London but the additional tourism income generated by a London start for the world’s biggest annual sporting event would mean this expenditure could be easily justified.
Officially, ASO offers just a Gallic shrug of the shoulders when asked about London’s chances, but insiders believe a London start would be an excellent PR coup (and lucrative, too).
London-based Rough Guides, published by Penguin, will be well up for a London start to the Tour. The company had representatives at this year’s event and has discussed the pubication of an English-language giveaway book. ASO is said to have no objections. The book would be written by ProCycling magazine’s editor and contributors. There are no firm launch plans as yet.