Cycling's premier event - the Tour de France - will start in London in 2007.

London mayor Ken Livingstone made the announcement in a statement Tuesday. He said hosting the first stage of the race will raise the profile of cycling in the British capital, and promote the city as a venue for international sporting events.

It will be the first time the Tour has started in England, and the third time it has passed through the country. The opening ceremony for the storied race will take place in London on July 6, 2007.

London won the bid to host the "Grand Depart" over cities in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Denmark. Launching the Tour outside of France is not new. The Tour has previously started in Liege, Belgium, Luxembourg, Dublin, Ireland, Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, and Berlin, Germany.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Bloomberg.