An estimated one million people have packed the streets of London to mark the first day of the Tour de France in London.
Mayor of London, who dropped the flag for the first rider, hailed the Prologue of the Tour de France in London a huge success and said the day proved the capital was “an unrivalled location for major international sporting events.”
Mr Livingstone offered his congratulations to all the riders “especially Fabian Cancellara, who stormed to victory winning the first Prologue staged in the capital.”
The Mayor said the day’s events had provided Londoners “a thrilling, free day out “.
“The Tour de France is a superb opportunity to promote London as a cycling city. The number of people taking to two wheels has soared by 83 per cent over the last seven years. We want the excitement of this weekend to encourage even more people to take up cycling.”
The route took riders past Big Ben and around Parliament Square before hurtling up Victoria Street and turning towards Buckingham Palace. From there, they headed up Constitution Hill to Hyde Park Corner, entered the park and circled the Serpentine. On exiting the park, riders negotiated a tight corner at the bottom of Park Lane before heading back down Constitution Hill before reaching the finish line on The Mall.
The Grand Départ continues tomorrow:
Sunday 8 July Tour de France Stage One – A 203 km stage starting on the Mall in central London through South East London into Kent with the finish in Canterbury:
Caravan leaves the Mall at 8.40;
Riders leave the Mall at 10.25.
In addition, there will be a number of events taking place across London:
The People’s Village Hyde Park – A free entry event celebrating and promoting cycling. Taking place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and featuring French and British food and drink, information about how to get into cycling, entertainment and giant screens to watch the action.
Hyde Park Cycling Festival – A free event on Sunday 8 July with cycling activities on a 3.5km section of the Tour de France Prologue course within Hyde Park.
The programme includes over 300 elite, international athletes competing in a wide variety of races, from the London Youth Games finalists, to national level youth and women races, showcasing the best British talent.