Towns in East Sussex have missed out on a lucrative opportunity to co-host the start of the 2017 Tour de France after London transport officials turned it down.
The capital city was due to host the first three stages of the world-famous cycle race - officially known as the Grand Départ - after Transport for London’s bid was chosen ahead of Edinburgh and Manchester by the tour’s owners, ASO.
The deal would have seen the route pass through Sussex on its third day, with cyclists tackling Ditchling Beacon on their way from London to Brighton, before turning onto the seafront and heading through Newhaven, Seaford, the South Downs, Eastbourne, Bexhill and Hastings.
However, just days before the agreement was announced, TfL pulled out after learning its funding would be cut.
The decision means the East Sussex towns will now miss out on a huge financial boost, expected to have been tens of millions of pounds as people from across the world watch the race broadcast on television and millions more head to the streets to watch the event up close.
When Yorkshire hosted the event start in 2013, an estimated 4.8 million people lined the streets across three days, injecting more than £136 million into the local economy.
A spokesperson for Eastbourne Borough Council said: “Having the Tour de France 2017 pass through Eastbourne would have been yet another fantastic attraction in our busy events calendar.
“While it is disappointing that we missed out on hosting this world-class race, residents and visitors will be able to enjoy a packed programme of entertainment and events throughout 2017.”
The Grand Départ for 2017 will now be held in Germany.
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