The UK will get a £115 million boost when the Tour de France starts here for the first time next July, Transport for London (TfL) announced today.

TfL expect an estimated two million visitors from across the world to visit London and Kent during the three days the Tour will spend in the UK from 6 to 8 July 2007. The Grand Depart?s organisers say the Tour will pass through London landmarks, such as Big Ben, the London Eye, St Paul?s Cathedral and the Gherkin, before finishing at Canterbury cathedral.

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said: ?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 2012. The Tour is more than a cycle race, it creates a carnival atmosphere wherever it visits.?

It is also hoped the event will encourage more people to get on their bikes. Triple Olympic medallist and TfL spokesman Bradley Wiggins, added: ?I was delighted the Tour de France is coming to the city I grew up in and where I used to cycle as a boy [?] I am sure next year?s race will inspire many more people to take to two wheels.?

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