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Last Updated: Monday, 9 July 2007, 10:24 GMT 11:24 UK
Le Tour 'back within six years'
Spectators watch the trials
Spectators lined up along the route to watch the trials
The Tour of France could return to the UK within the next six years, London mayor Ken Livingstone has said.

He said organisers were keen to bring the race back to Britain after successfully staging the opening day of the race in London on Saturday.

"I think realistically it would be five or six years," he said. "The organisers (the Amaury Sport Organisation) have said they are very pleased."

British sports figures also supported a return of the Tour.

Spectators cheered 189 riders as they left Greenwich, south London, and rode out of the city towards Kent.

The 203km first leg of the race finished in Canterbury.

London just can do this and London does it well
Peter Hendy, London Transport Commissioner

Mr Livingstone said: "We should not be surprised that it has gone so well. Many countries now want to stage a sporting event in Britain because we are gaining a reputation for being the best in the world."

London's Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy added: "We are already thinking that it should come back."

He said despite planning for the 2012 Olympics London would be ready anytime.

"Having it here brings the Tour to a whole new audience. We would do this whenever they come," he said.

"Last week we had two unexploded bombs, a Tube derailment on the central line, Wimbledon and Live Earth and we still did this.

"London just can do this and London does it well."

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, who described the Grand Depart as a "significant success" in policing terms, said hosting the Tour had been a great help in preparing for the Olympics.

Mr Ghaffur, also security co-ordinator for the Games, said: "It has allowed us to look at our capacity to deal with so many people. We will take lessons from it."

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