Boris Johnson: It was my call to turn down Tour de France

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Boris Johnson: It Was My Call to Turn Down Tour De France

London Mayor Boris Johnson said it was a "no brainer" to turn down the opportunity for London to host the start of the Tour de France in 2017.

The cycling enthusiast said it was "entirely my call" to pull out of the event, adding that the £35 million cost could be better spent.

He said: "I had to take a very tough decision, obviously painful. In an ideal world, you know me, my policy is to have your cake and eat it.

"The difficulty was we had to make a choice. £35 million is an awful lot to spend on a one off event when you could put that money in to long term projects.

"What people really want is safer cycling lanes."

He added: "For me it was a no brainer."

He believes "most people would accept that £35 million is a lot to spend on a one off event" but denied it marked the end of big sporting events in London.

Asked why London made the initial bid for the event if the capital could not afford it, he said: "You've got to make some tough choices."

Transport for London (TfL) announced yesterday that it would not host the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2017 because it did not represent value for money.

The capital was asked to host the start of the world's most prestigious cycling race ten years on from its hugely successful staging of the tour and three years after hosting a stage finish of the 2014 edition in Leeds.

Speaking of the decision to decline hosting duties in 2017, Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport at TfL, said hosting the events in 2007 and 2014 had been "amazing", and that thousands of new cyclists had been inspired.

He added: "We have always said that the return of the Tour was subject to funding.

"To ensure value for money we must make difficult choices, and on this occasion we have decided that we will not be hosting the Grand Depart in 2017."