Tour de Yorkshire 2022 is called off as organisers admit defeat over financial challenges

The Tour de Yorkshire cycling race will not take place next year, it has been confirmed tonight.

The Tour de Yorkshire will not be taking place next year.

Race organisers Welcome to Yorkshire and the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) have jointly announced this evening that the event will not be taking place as hoped next May.

It follows months of discussions about who would foot the bill for staging the event, with local councils due to host different stages asked to pay an extra £100,000 each to underwrite any potential shortfall in sponsorship. ASO, which also organises the Tour de France, had not wanted to shoulder any potential losses from the event.

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The two organisations said tonight that the decision to call off the event next year had been made by "mutual consent".

Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive James Mason said: “This has been an intense period of back and forth discussions about the 2022 Tour de Yorkshire over many months.

"The race is a much-loved international sports event which showcases Yorkshire across the globe. So many people involved in the decision making process understand just how popular the race is.

"We had every intention for the race to go ahead but unfortunately some of the circumstances were out of our control and sometimes you have to make big calls for the right reasons. People from Yorkshire are proud and we only want the best for the county. We still have ambitions for large events going forward to put Yorkshire on the world stage and we will continue to work with our partners to plan for those.”

The Tour de Yorkshire was first staged in the county in 2015, following on from the region's success in hosting the Grand Depart for the Tour de France in 2014. It became an annual event but was called off in 2020 and 2021 as a result of the pandemic.

The cancellations came as Welcome to Yorkshire was attempting to rebuild its reputation following the departure of Sir Gary Verity as chief executive in March 2019 in the midst of allegations about expenses spending and behaviour towards staff. Sir Gary was closely associated with the race having been key to bringing the Tour de France to Yorkshire and establishing the Tour de Yorkshire.

Yann Le Moenner, chief executive of ASO, said: "In 2014, Yorkshire offered the Tour de France one of the most memorable Grand Départ in its history. Hundreds of thousands of spectators came out to support the greatest riders, all of whom were taken aback by the enthusiastic support. Sporting success was also on the menu thanks to a route that seemed built for cycling.

"A strong relationship between the Tour de France and Yorkshire was born and was confirmed in the creation of a new annual event, the Tour de Yorkshire. For seven years now our teams have been working towards the realisation of the event, which after five editions has become a real marker in cycling's spring season.

"After two back-to-back cancellations due to the Covid-19 pandemic hitting in early 2020, and considering economic factors, some of which result from it, it has been decided by mutual agreement that the Tour de Yorkshire will not be organised in 2022. Whatever the case, the Tour de France and A.S.O. will always remain close to Yorkshire because of the fantastic Grand Départ in 2014 and five successful editions of the Tour de Yorkshire which deserve a follow-up.”

Chair of Welcome to Yorkshire Peter Box said: “Whilst the news about the Tour de Yorkshire will be disappointing to hear for many, it’s important for Welcome to Yorkshire to now focus on imminent events and to continue planning for future annual campaigns, similar to 2021’s acclaimed ‘Walkshire’, promoting the whole of the county every day of the year.

"The last eighteen months have seen turbulent times for many businesses and for tourism, with financial restrictions which must be addressed and considered in all decision-making processes. The ongoing support of Welcome to Yorkshire’s partners across the county is gratefully acknowledged and we look forward to continuing working together going forward.

"The organisation has shown immense creativity, skill and expertise at arranging and hosting a wide-range of award-winning events in the past and it will continue to do so.”

British Cycling Chief Executive Brian Facer said: “Clearly this is very disappointing news for everyone who recognises the value the Tour de Yorkshire brings to the county and to cycling in Britain. This is not just about the economic boost that top level bike racing has brought to Yorkshire, but also in the huge numbers of people who have been inspired to cycle themselves.

"The local authorities in Yorkshire have done a fantastic job over recent years and deserve credit for trying to find a way forward. We will continue to work with Welcome to Yorkshire and A.S.O. to secure major cycling events in the future. In the meantime, we know that Yorkshire remains passionate about cycling and we are working every day with our colleagues and partners to provide more opportunities for people from communities across

the county to get on their bikes.”

Last week, The Yorkshire Post revealed that Tour de Yorkshire organisers had secured the promise of an extra £600,000 in taxpayer funding to underwrite the costs of the event should not enough sponsorship be raised.

North Yorkshire, Barnsley, Richmondshire, East Riding, Redcar & Cleveland and Craven councils all agreed to potentially provide an extra £100,000 each towards the staging of the race as local authorities who have towns which are among the host locations.

But decisions had not been made by Leeds, Calderdale and Kirklees Councils at that stage.

The extra funding came on top of the £100,000 each host council had already agreed to.

It had been intended that the event would have seen a four-day men’s race going from Beverley to Redcar, followed by Skipton to Leyburn, then Barnsley to Huddersfield and followed by Halifax to Leeds. A two-day women’s race was planned for the middle two stages.