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    Brussels’ Grand Depart bill to reach €11 million

    Brussels’ municipal and regional authorities are set to pay an estimated €11 million combined for hosting the Grand Départ, the first weekend of the world-famous Tour de France cycling race, according to reports on Friday.

    From event fees and improved roads to security and logistics, the bill for hosting the launching of the event is set to see city and region sign off hefty paychecks as they prepare to host the first seven days of the 23-day-long race.

    Hosting the Grand Départ “means accepting to organise a number of events, such as the 50-day countdown or the presentation of the teams,” according to a spokesperson for Brussels Mayor Philippe Close.

    “Some repairs were also made on municipal roads —but that was not so bad— and we must make sure that the tram rails are covered,” she added.

    The city of Brussel’s bill is set to total €6 million, €5 million of which have already been paid to Tour organiser ASO, according to Bruzz. The additional million will serve to finance the planning and logistics of the various events programmed around the actual start of the race.

    Both the Brussels-Capital Region and the federal government also pick up their part of the check, paying out €1.5 million each. Mobility authorities invested an additional €2 million in order to lay out new asphalting on 20 kilometres of roads.

    While the estimated total of the Grand Départ expenses has been set at €11 million, the actual figure can only be established after the event, as the economic benefits of hosting the event also become apparent in the local and regional coffers.

    Grand Départ week will kick off on July 1 in Brussels.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times