British Cycling has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) and the Welcome to Yorkshire tourism agency to develop an international stage race that will act as a legacy of the English county’s staging of the Tour de France’s Grand Depart this summer.
Tour de France organiser ASO was in January reported to be in talks to establish a three-day cycling race in Yorkshire in a bid to gain a foothold in the UK market. The MoU signed today (Thursday) commits 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.
British Cycling director of cycle sport Jonny Clay said: “This is good news for cycling fans across the country but particularly in Yorkshire, where interest in the sport has rocketed thanks to the Grand Depart. However, there is still a great deal to be done – interest in staging international standard road racing in this country has increased to the level where we’re now in the fortunate position of being able to ensure the best possible deal for the sport.
Clay added: “Principle among our criteria for approval is the long-term viability of an event – we want races which will return to inspire people year after year – and how effective it will be in getting more people and investment into grassroots cycling.”
The race was announced as Yorkshire marked 100 days to go before the start of the Tour de France, with the Grand Depart scheduled to commence in Leeds on July 5. Yorkshire held off competition from Barcelona, Edinburgh and Florence to be awarded the event in December 2012.