Anatomy of Tour de France costs

Tour de France in London Image copyright PA
Image caption The Tour de France passed some of London's most famous landmarks including Buckingham Palace

The Tour has moved on and there's no doubt the crowds turned out in huge numbers - but what is the legacy of the Tour De France 2014 for England and, in these austere times, who paid for it and how?

It's certainly not straight forward trying to find out the real costs behind the Tour as everyone pays different amounts.

The Tour is run by a commercial operation the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), which charges a staging fee to the towns and cities wanting the start and finish of each stage.

That fee varies depending on how big the stage is. So, you pay more for the Grand Depart (the start) and less for the end of a stage. Well that's the theory.

Council criticism

For example, York City Council paid £500,000 to host the start of Day Two, with operating costs including toilets and barriers on top of that.

Sheffield paid a staging fee of £200,000 for the finish which did attract some criticism in light of cuts elsewhere in the council's budgets.

In total, according to the Tdf Hub 2014 Ltd, the event's governing body, local councils on stage one and two paid £10.6m to host and deliver the event.

If you break that down - £3.5m were the actual bid costs.

Putting on Le Grand Depart Stage One Leeds to Harrogate cost local councils £3.2m, with Stage Two from York to Sheffield costing the councils involved £3.9m to implement.

Image copyright TdFHub2014

On top of that, central government contributed £10m to help local authorities in Yorkshire, Cambridge and Essex, cover the costs.

However, the Government's contribution stops at the M25, with some paying more and others less.

While York paid £500,000 to see the start of a stage, Essex says it didn't actually pay anything as its stage was covered by the central government money as the Tour passed through.

It said: "Essex County Council is not making any financial contribution to the organisation of Le Tour, so there will be no additional cost to the Essex council tax payer.

"The government announced in July 2013 that it was providing up to £10m worth of funding to help host the opening stages of the 2014 Tour de France in Yorkshire and the 3rd stage from Cambridge to London."

As soon as the Tour went over the M25 it came under the auspices and control of Transport for London (TfL) and so it was paid for by them without any government funding.

TfL's contribution for the finish of Stage Three was £6m, the breakdown of which is below.

Image copyright TdFHUB2014LTD

When I asked TfL, it also emerged the £6m had come out of the cycling budget.

That did not go down well with cycling campaigners who thought it was "outrageous" and believe the money would be better spent on infrastructure such as cycle lanes to cope with the huge numbers of cyclists in the capital.

TfL justifies the cash coming out of the cycling budget by saying as well as economic benefits and promoting London, the Tour de France also encourages cycling.

In fact, it quotes a BBC poll which says one in five adults would cycle more after seeing the Tour and reflects its own research from the last time the Tour came to London in 2007.

Others dispute there is a link between professional sporting events and take up of that sport.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Spectators cheer as the pack race during the third stage of the Tour from Cambridge to London

One critic said Tfl using the cycling budget was the same as the Highways Agency paying for Formula One.

Tfl said: "This money is not associated to any safety budgets and is also from the same pot of money that TfL's contribution came from in 2007 - which led to an 8% increase in the number of people cycling in London.

"The total cycling budget this year is around £100m, which is broadly split 2/3s infrastructure and 1/3 non-infrastructure. In 2007, the cycling budget was around £20m."

In 2007 London hosted the start of the event, Le Grand Depart, over a weekend at a cost of £7.5m. Of that TfL paid £3.8m.

Cost-spreading in 2007

According to TfL that included "the official launch in February 2006; the hosting fee paid to the ASO; and planning and delivery of the Opening Ceremony, Prologue and Stage One'.

In 2007 there was a contribution from other bodies including the London Development Agency (LDA).

Again, the aim was to boost the London economy, promote the capital and encourage cycling. The breakdown from other contributors were:

  • LDA: £2,400,000
  • UK Sport: £450,000
  • Sport England: £250,000
  • SEEDA: £200,000
  • Kent County Council: £269,000
  • Canterbury City Council: £81,000
  • Medway Council: £25,000
  • British Cycling £10,000
  • Total Contributions £3,685,000

So, in 2007 London agencies paid £5.2m for the Grand Depart. Of that £2.4m was paid by the LDA and £3.815m from TfL.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Transport for London believes the benefits outweigh the cost and hopes for a greater uptake of the sport

That is in contrast to this year when no contributions were made to the Tour budget by London tourism agencies.

In 2014, most of the councils outside London paid £10.6m for two days of the race and the Grand Depart with central government paying £9.9m to help with those costs.

This year, inside the M25 TfL alone paid £6m for the finish of Stage Three.

These figures are bound to raise more questions.

Is that a good deal? Does the Tour really promote everyday cycling? Why is TfL paying much more in 2014 than it did in 2007? Why didn't the Government and London's tourism agencies contribute to stage Three?

Is London being penalised for predicting its budget more accurately than other areas? And does it matter whose purse the money comes out of if Yorkshire and London benefit economically by £100m?

Ben Plowden, Director of Surface Strategy and Planning at TfL, said: "The phenomenal success of the Tour de France's return to London in July will help to inspire seasoned and novice cyclists alike to take to two wheels.

"More than one million people turned out to witness this fantastic event, driving an economic boost to the capital as well as a growth in the city's cyclists.

"The final costs of hosting Stage Three of the Tour de France are being finalised however, the final amount will be within the original £6m budgeted. The standard ASO hosting fee of €500,000 is included as part of this original budget."

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