Tour de France organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) is in talks to establish a three-day cycling race in Yorkshire in a bid to gain a foothold in the UK market.
The Guardian newspaper said preliminary discussions between ASO, tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire and national governing body British Cycling have already occurred, and further meetings are scheduled with a view to establishing an event in May 2015.
The new race would come on the back of the English county’s staging of the prestigious Grand Depart of the 2014 Tour de France, with Yorkshire having held off competition from Barcelona, Edinburgh and Florence to be awarded the event in December 2012. “We want to do something,” Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said. “We want something to remain after the Grand Départ has happened.”
The Guardian said two initial plans were originally considered, only to be scrapped. The first of these was a stage race for this year, which was rejected due to the tight time frame. The second was a staging of the Critérium International event in 2015, which was dismissed due to its late March date, when the Yorkshire weather may not be suitable. The Critérium will remain in its current home of Corsica.
Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity added: “We will look to spread the event around Yorkshire so that places that haven't received the Tour this year will get the benefit. It will be the same UCI (International Cycling Union) ranking as the Critérium International, and with ASO involved the quality of the riders and teams will be of the highest standard.”