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Tour de France route through SE1 confirmed

Ken Livingstone has confirmed the Tour de France's route along the South Bank and through Bermondsey next year at an international press conference in Paris.

Stage 1 of the Tour on Sunday 8 July 2007 will start in The Mall and cross Westminster Bridge. The route then follows York Road, Chicheley Street, Belvedere Road and Upper Ground to Blackfriars Bridge.

The route then takes in St Paul's Cathedral before returning south across Tower Bridge and heading east along Tooley Street and Jamaica Road.

Lambeth Council has welcomed the confirmation that the Tour will come to the South Bank.

"I'm really excited about having a truly world class sporting event taking place on Lambeth's streets," says Cllr Nigel Haselden, deputy cabinet member for transport.

"It promises to be a fantastic day and I hope as many people as possible are able to get out and cheer on the competitors.

"Lambeth Council has a great range of initiatives to encourage people to switch from four wheels to two, and to help to make London a world class cycling city, so it's fitting the world's premier cycle race should be staged here."

Transport for London says that London and Kent are set to receive a 115 million boost when the Tour de France, the biggest annual sporting event in the world, starts in the UK for the first time.

An estimated two million visitors from across the world are expected to visit London and Kent during the three days the Tour will spend in the UK from 6 to 8 July 2007.

"I am proud that London will play a part in the long history of the Tour de France and the London Grand Depart underlines the capital's status as a venue for world sporting events ahead of the Olympics in 2012," says Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London.

"The Tour de France is so much more than just a cycle race, creating a carnival atmosphere wherever it visits.

"We want 2007 to be the greatest Grand Depart the Tour has ever seen giving the riders a fantastic send off as they start a gruelling three weeks racing.

"The Tour will be great for London, showcasing the UK capital to the world, bringing huge amounts of visitors to London and encouraging more Londoners to take to two wheels.

"Cycling is increasing here more than any other city in Europe with a 72 per cent increase in the last five years.

"We want to use the excitement of the Grand Depart to help us persuade even more people to cycle, not just as a sport but as an everyday and non-polluting way of getting around the city."

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