Tour de France to visit Tower Hamlets in summer 2014

pic: Paul Pichota

After nearly seven years, the Tour de France is set to return to Britain in 2014, with the third stage passing through Tower Hamlets.

The prestigious cycling race will shoot past the Olympic park where crowds will be hoping the UK’s Bradley Wiggins or the Manx Missile Mark Cavendish will be wearing the leader’s yellow jersey.

The stage will finish off on the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace after travelling along the banks of the Thames and past some of Tower Hamlets’ most famous landmarks.

Tower Hamlets Council are  looking forward to the borough being part of the event and said: “The Tour de France is coming to our doorstep in Tower Hamlets and this is fantastic news. Last year we hosted the greatest sporting event in the world as a host borough for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“Together with residents we helped local people to take part, get active and enjoy every second, and we are sure our residents will welcome this great sporting event to our streets with great excitement.”

Wiggins, who won last year’s tour and a Gold medal at the Olympics, was one of the reasons organisers decided to bring part of the event to London. It is hoped that the event will be able to capture the spirit and excitement of the London Olympics where the TeamGB cycling squad took home eight gold medals.

Stephanie O’Connor, a business development manager who works in Bow, said: “The Olympics was good for the East End, but no one got to see the real East End in all its multicultural glory.

“The marathon for instance was diverted away from areas like Bow and Whitechapel as they aren’t perhaps as polished as other pockets within Tower Hamlets.

“I hope that by 2014 when the Tour de France comes to Tower Hamlets the Olympic legacy will deliver its promise and give the East End the credit it deserves, but I very much doubt it.”

The London Cycling Campaign hopes that the event will encourage local authorities to make the capital safe so cycling can be enjoyed by everyone. Mike Cavenett, Communications Manager at LCC, said: “We’re thrilled the Tour is returning to London because we have fond memories of the enthusiasm for cycling generated the last time it visited our city.

“We hope the Mayor and local councils use this high-profile occasion to put in place more measures that help make London’s streets truly safe and inviting for everyone to cycle.”

Mayor Boris Johnson said that he will be in the crowd and hopes thousands more will join him: “It has been the most incredible epoch in the history of cycling that any of us can remember; and I am absolutely delighted that the world’s greatest cycling race is coming to the capital.

“People will see London framed by shooting velocipedes for what will be a fantastic spectacle of sport.”

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