Plans to launch a ‘Tour of Yorkshire’ on the back of the English county’s staging of this year’s Grand Départ of cycling showpiece the Tour de France have taken another step forward.
British Cycling has announced it has reached agreement with Tour de France organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) and the Welcome to Yorkshire tourism agency to support an application to the International Cycling Union (UCI) to hold a three-day race in Yorkshire from next year.
A Memorandum of Understanding signed in March committed the three organisations to working together to create an event that meets “strong criteria” not only for a sustainable race but also for the growth of cycling in Yorkshire and nationally. It is now hoped the event will take place in May 2015, subject to confirmation from the UCI, world cycling’s governing body.
British Cycling director of cycle sport Jonny Clay said: “We will await the decision of the UCI but I am confident that ASO and Welcome to Yorkshire will create a world-class event attractive to the best teams in cycling. What is more, all three organisations are committed to ensuring the race delivers lasting benefits to cycling by engaging more fans for our great sport and by encouraging more people to get active by getting on their bikes.”
Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France, added: “Alongside the public interest for cycling, highlighted by the Grand Départ, Yorkshire boasts beautiful breathtaking scenery worthy of any of the cycling season’s major events. It therefore seems perfectly natural for Welcome to Yorkshire, British Cycling and ASO to continue working together in this new land of cycling, through the Tour of Yorkshire. In particular, this three-day stage race will offer television viewers worldwide the opportunity to continue discovering the splendid landscapes of this English region, a journey started by the Tour de France, whose Grand Départ this year will remain its founding act.”
The Tour de France’s 2014 Grand Depart is scheduled to commence in Leeds on Saturday. Yorkshire held off competition from Barcelona, Edinburgh and Florence to be awarded the event in December 2012.