Harrogate's UCI Road World Championships 'catalyst' for ill-feeling about Yorkshire cycling events

Widespread unhappiness at the handling of the UCI Road World Championships in Harrogate in 2019 was a “catalyst” for creating misplaced ill-feeling towards cycling events in the region, the man trying to revive the Tour de Yorkshire has said.

Poor weather during the Harrogate event led to major damage to The Stray grounds while there were also complaints from some traders about the impact of road closures on their businesses.

Robin Scott, who is trying to revive the Tour de Yorkshire, said the event was “an example of too much of a good thing” which also negatively affected perceptions of the separate Tour event.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The Tour de Yorkshire itself has not taken place since 2019 as a result of the pandemic and then a failure to agreeing financing for the 2022 event, where local councils were being asked to underwrite potential losses by organisers Welcome to Yorkshire and ASO.

The Stray in Harrogate suffered substantial damage after the cycling event in 2019.

Mr Scott, whose company Silicon Dales have recently taken over key assets of Welcome to Yorkshire after the tourism agency went into administration in March, is trying with cycling chiefs to revive the Tour de Yorkshire, which was a successor event after Yorkshire hosted the start of the Tour de France in 2014.

He said it “wasn’t fair” to ask local councils to underwrite the event and it would organised differently if it does come back in future.

“We can bring it in as a packaged event and say to councils, ‘Do you want this in your region?’ We’re not going to come around with a pot and say

‘You’ve got to underwrite this’ and that is going to be the big difference.

“The other thing to consider is the amounts of money involved.

“It is not crazy money - we are not talking about putting on the Commonwealth Games or even the World Championships that happened in 2019 in Harrogate.

“To be honest, I think that event was potentially one of the catalysts for some ill feeling.

“The 2019 Worlds I think an example of too much of a good thing and it created some ill-feeling, there wasn’t a universal reaction of ‘This is brilliant’.

“Whereas with the Tour de Yorkshire, everyone is super positive about it and it really captures everybody’s imagination.”

He said talks were taking place with officials at both ASO and British Cycling about how to bring back the event as well as how it will work.

The 2019 Tour de Yorkshire included four stages for the men’s race and two for the women.

Mr Scott said he hoped any new version would “enhance” the women’s competition and potentially include a new under-23 women’s race.

“Apparently that is really missing from the sporting calendar,” he said.

“It is completely not my decision but what I will say is that these are the types of things that we would like to try to include.

“There is an opportunity.

“It has been away three years and we can bring it back the same but better.

“It is the biggest cycling event in the UK, we want to make sure that stays. We also want to make sure all the big teams are in.”

He said the popularity of cycling in general has increased over lockdown.

“People have got on their bikes in the last couple of years.

“We want to encourage that because it is healthy and a great way to see Yorkshire.”

He said that for him, “success would be the bike race happening in any format”.

Read More

Read More
Meet the man with a new vision for Welcome to Yorkshire - inspired by Las Vegas

At The Yorkshire Post, we are committed to speaking truth to power on behalf of the people who call God’s Own County their home. Our political team and Westminster Correspondent are Yorkshire's eyes and ears in the corridors of power.

If you’d like all the latest political news straight to your inbox, you can sign up to our newsletter for free at: https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/newsletter