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Brexit blamed as London-Paris organisers say next year’s edition will be the last

Border issues following UK’s departure from the EU have led to increased costs and logistical headache

Next year’s 20th anniversary edition of London-Paris, the three-day ride that features on many cyclists’ bucket list, will be the last in the current format, with organisers blaming the decision in large part on increased costs and logistical headaches in the wake of Brexit.

On the event’s website, organisers Hotchillee invite would-be participants to join them “one more time” next June for the iconic event, which covers 520km between the British and French capitals.

While other organised London to Paris rides are available, and many people choose to cycle the route independently, what has set the Hotchillee event apart over the years are its sheer scale – 350 cyclists, supported by more than 100 event crew, are expected next year – as well as the availability of rolling road closures on the French leg and a police motorbike escort into Paris.

In recent years, the status of the event has also been enhanced by Hotchillee’s partnership with ASO, with the event finishing the day before the Tour de France’s traditional Champs-Elysees finish, although that will not be the case next year with the Grand Tour finishing in Nice as Paris prepares to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

And while organisers cite issues such as problems securing road closures and the event’s carbon footprint as also being factors behind the decision to bring it to an end, it seems clear that the red tape that impacts movement of goods and people between the UK and the EU – a problem also highlighted by British musicians who now have to account for all their equipment when heading to the continent on tour – is the primary stumbling block, and one that proves insurmountable.

According to Cyclingnews.com, organisers say that the total value of bikes used by people participating in the event last year was £1.7 million, and due to customs changes following Brexit, a carnet for the entire fleet has to be completed to avoid import duties from being applied to each individual bicycle.

No such paperwork was required while the UK remained within the customs union, and the additional costs – plus the prospect of bikes being held at the border if for whatever reason the documentation was unacceptable to customs officials – mean that it is impossible for the event to continue in its current format.

In a statement on its website, Hotchillee said: “Wanting to offer a more sustainable experience for their riders, the increasing challenge of closing roads and securing permissions for race sections, combined with the ever growing complications of Brexit, Hotchillee’s 20th anniversary edition will be the last in the current format.

The company’s founder, Sven Thiele, added: “We, the organisers, crew and riders have enjoyed so many years of inspirational London-Paris experiences. 

“For two decades we’ve supported riders with rolling closed roads, mechanical, medical, lead car, motorbike outrider and logistical vehicle support. In recent years we’ve been making some small but significant changes as we move toward a greener future. 

“We will use this as an opportunity to celebrate 20 years of a wonderful event in an exciting format that has allowed us to expand our global family far beyond what I dreamt of in the early days.”

Places for the event, costing from £1,950 and including three nights’ 3- or 4-star accommodation, are available through the Hotchillee website, and the company says that it will continue to offer the Gravel version of the ride, the route of which mainly comprises off-road sections, and takes place next year from 19-22 September.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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133 comments

Avatar
Hirsute | 6 months ago
1 like

Carnets are great

https://twitter.com/steve_way/status/1685210342459072512

Taking a van to the EU as a @scouts volunteer- a thread. Buckle up! In my volunteer role in Scouting I use my D1E to support teams of younger leaders who don’t have D1 on their license as that was removed on 1st Jan 1997. I was asked to drive a 3.5tonne van to Switzerland /1
//pbs.twimg.com/media/F2MR5gAXIAASS_U?format=jpg&name=small)

 

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Oldfatgit replied to Hirsute | 6 months ago
4 likes

Can't read your thread on Shitter as not a subscriber, only get served the intro post... So if you cover this on Dimmer, I've already got my excuse in.

While I can appreciate that a carnet is a pain in the arse, surely having to pay excise on it again at the border would be an even bigger pain in the arse?

Isn't that what happened to that (Welsh?) charity ride?

Accuracy will be your friend, so whoever has told you to make the corrections, is doing it out of your best interest.

 

Yes, Brexit is a shit cake with double diarrhea icing.

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Hirsute replied to Oldfatgit | 6 months ago
4 likes

"Total cost £600 plus freight ferry tickets. Total mandays to research the process, sort the load, complete the paperwork, get the physical documents & wait at various customs facilities - 9. It used to be a case of load the van and go!"

Not my twitter thread by the way - Stephen Way is the author.

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mark1a replied to Hirsute | 6 months ago
0 likes
Hirsute wrote:

... plus freight ferry tickets...

Not sure why the author mentions this, a 3.5t van is always going to be freight on the channel crossing.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to mark1a | 6 months ago
0 likes

In his larger thread he states 

Quote:

(also if you are doing this you need a freight ferry ticket, not just a car one - but that does get you a fried breakfast as part of the cost)

 

So I believe it is an addendum for people who have never taken a large van before that it comes under freight even if not actually taking goods to sell. 

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pockstone replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 6 months ago
1 like

Fried Breakfast = Brexit Benefit...have you told Frosty and his gang?

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Dnnnnnn replied to Hirsute | 6 months ago
3 likes
Hirsute wrote:

Carnets are great

"We hold all the cards"?

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ktache replied to Dnnnnnn | 6 months ago
3 likes

Seven two off...?

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Dnnnnnn replied to ktache | 6 months ago
1 like
ktache wrote:

Seven two off...?

Had to Google that!

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pockstone replied to Dnnnnnn | 6 months ago
0 likes

Is it a cricket score?

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Rich_cb | 6 months ago
3 likes

The fact that the gravel version is continuing makes this quote a bit ridiculous:

road.cc wrote:

No such paperwork was required while the UK remained within the customs union, and the additional costs – plus the prospect of bikes being held at the border if for whatever reason the documentation was unacceptable to customs officials – mean that it is impossible for the event to continue in its current format.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Rich_cb | 6 months ago
1 like

The gravel one is running next year the same as the road one is running next year. 

No mention of the year after for Gravel yet.

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Rich_cb replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 6 months ago
0 likes

It says in the article that the gravel version will continue.

I'm assuming that meant beyond 2024.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Rich_cb | 6 months ago
2 likes

The wording is very vague though and can be interpreted lots of ways. Their press relases just states 

Quote:

Hotchillee have also introduced a LONDON-PARIS Gravel in recent years, which takes riders from the Thames to the Seine off-road, finishing at the foot of the iconic Eiffel Tower. The gravel event will take place from 19-22 September 2024, with entries going on sale on 14 September 2023.

Cyclingnews states

Quote:

Hotchillee has also introduced a gravel version of the London to Paris ride, which takes participants from the Thames to the Seine predominantly off-road, finishing at the foot of the iconic Eiffel Tower. The gravel event will aim to continue in the wake of the end of the flagship road event will take place from 19-22 September 2024, with entries going on sale on 14 September 2023.

So neither currently states what they are doing about the gravel, just that it is still happening at the moment. 

For someone who normally doesn't just jump onto assumptions.......

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Rich_cb replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 6 months ago
0 likes

The last quote definitely implies that the gravel event is continuing after the road event stops.

If they were both stopping then they'dsurely make that clear?

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Rich_cb | 6 months ago
1 like

"will aim to continue". In theory the wording is correct as well as it is 2 months after the road event so that would be ended when the next gravel event happens.

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Rich_cb replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 6 months ago
0 likes

That would be a very strange way to word it if they were only referring to the 2 month gap.

The most reasonable assumption based on the information we have is that the gravel event is intended to keep running.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Rich_cb | 6 months ago
1 like

It is also not a direct quote from the official company either.

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wycombewheeler replied to Rich_cb | 6 months ago
3 likes
Rich_cb wrote:

The fact that the gravel version is continuing makes this quote a bit ridiculous:

road.cc wrote:

No such paperwork was required while the UK remained within the customs union, and the additional costs – plus the prospect of bikes being held at the border if for whatever reason the documentation was unacceptable to customs officials – mean that it is impossible for the event to continue in its current format.

"gravel" mark up means events cost double road events, which gives budget for all the cross border admin.yes

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 6 months ago
14 likes

Who would have thought that self imposing barriers to free movement (and trade, education, investment etc) with one's closet neighbours would inflict costs and extra bureaucracy? I mean, all that EU 'red tape' of just turn up at Dover, get on the train/ferry and get off at the other end was such a pain when now one can sit in a queue for hours chatting with the lorry drivers and coach passengers waiting to get a passport stamp or to defecate in port-a-loo, fill in a carnet, make sure the bike is packed in a bag for customs check, wait for the customs officer to check it (and all the others) . . . . . that's proper fun now. 

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Rendel Harris replied to BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 6 months ago
12 likes

The Brexiters seem to be almost universally the types to hark back to the good old days of the war and the 1950s, do you think maybe they decided that what Britons needed was to go back to an era where you had to queue up for hours for virtually everything, thereby putting some much-needed stoicism and backbone back into the British character?

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OldRidgeback replied to Rendel Harris | 6 months ago
8 likes

The Brexiteers look back at the 1950s with rose coloured glasses. By modern standards those times were pretty awful. The good thing about the 1950s were that they were a lot better than the war period of the 1940s and a lot better than the extreme poverty of the depression era 1930s.

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Roulereo replied to BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 6 months ago
1 like

The UN and WEF thank you for your service and unpaid advocacy on this issue. 4th booster shot queue on the right, feel free to eat some bugs from the bowl, thank you. 

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Rendel Harris replied to Roulereo | 6 months ago
3 likes
Roulereo wrote:

The UN and WEF thank you for your service and unpaid advocacy on this issue. 4th booster shot queue on the right, feel free to eat some bugs from the bowl, thank you. 

The manufacturers of Bacofoil thank you for yours.

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ktache replied to Rendel Harris | 6 months ago
4 likes

The non stick Bacofoil is incredible stuff. But I think he's on the cheap stuff that rips too easily, the rays appear to be getting through...

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perce replied to Roulereo | 6 months ago
2 likes

I don't know what you are talking about. But then again I don't think you do either.

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chrisonabike | 6 months ago
0 likes
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perce replied to chrisonabike | 6 months ago
9 likes

I've still not finished the Birmingham to Mandalay road race. I got lost after getting stuck at temporary traffic lights near Edgbaston.

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chrisonabike replied to perce | 6 months ago
6 likes

Oh, you're nearly there!  Right at the one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu, once you get to the old Moulmein Pagoda, looking lazy at the sea - you're on the road to Mandalay.
 

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perce replied to chrisonabike | 6 months ago
8 likes

I was thinking about taking a shortcut through the leafy Essex lanes and then on to the great wall of China.Via Preston.

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