Sporting event: 2007 Tour de France to start in London

The 2007 Tour de France will start in London. "Hosting the first stage of the legendary French cycle race will raise the profile of cycling in the capital, attract visitors and promote the capital as a venue for international sporting events," Mayor Ken Livingstone said in a statement Tuesday.

It will be the first time the Tour has started in England, and the third time it has passed through the country. The Tour had a stage in Plymouth in 1974, and, in 1994, the race had stages between Dover and Brighton and to and from Portsmouth.

The Tour's opening ceremony in London will take place on July 6, 2007. In Paris, race organizers said further details of the start would be announced in London on Feb. 9. Starting the Tour outside France is not new. Previously, the Tour's "Grand Depart" has been launched from numerous cities and towns outside France, including Liege, Belgium, (2004), Luxembourg (2002, 1989), Dublin, Ireland, (1998), Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, (1996), and Berlin (1987), reports the AP. N.U.