Tour de Yorkshire organisers secure further £600,000 in taxpayer funding to underwrite event

Tour de Yorkshire organisers have now secured the promise of an extra £600,000 in taxpayer funding to underwrite the costs of the event should not enough sponsorship be raised, The Yorkshire Post can reveal.

The peloton climb Cote de Hooks House Farm on stage three of the Tour de Yorkshire in 2019

North Yorkshire, Barnsley, Richmondshire, East Riding, Redcar & Cleveland and Craven councils have 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 are yet to be made by Leeds, Calderdale and Kirklees Councils - leaving the question of whether the event will go ahead next May still hanging in the balance.

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The potential extra funding to cover any shortfall in sponsorship comes on top of the £100,000 each host council has already agreed to.

If required, the money would be paid to race organiser ASO after the French media group said it was no longer prepared to shoulder any potential losses from the event.

Tourism body Welcome to Yorkshire has been seeking the additional funding for the event as the organisation seeks to revive the race, which was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.

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At a recent North Yorkshire County Council meeting which gave the go-ahead for it to provide extra funding, councillors were told “most if not all” local authorities had also agreed to back the plan. The Yorkshire Post approached the other councils for their stance - with all but three confirming they would provide the extra funding if required.

Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive James Mason said “It’s really positive news that local authorities Barnsley, Richmondshire, East Riding, Skipton, and Redcar and Cleveland have all confirmed that they would be willing to provide the extra funding, if required, to host the county’s Tour de Yorkshire cycling event in 2022.

“Decisions are expected from other host councils in the near future, including Leeds, Kirklees and Calderdale.”

If the event does go ahead, it is intended it will follow the same route as the cancelled 2020 race, with the 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 is planned for the middle two stages.

In July, Mr Mason wrote in The Yorkshire Post that staging the event costs over £2m and is funded by a combination of contributions from local authorities, sponsorship and advertising.

He admitted at the time that attempts to bring back the race had proved “far more divisive than I could ever have imagined” following concerns about the use of taxpayers’ cash for the event.

Mr Mason said an economic impact report found the 2018 race brought £98m to the local economy. “Any argument for or against the race has to offer an alternative that can deliver the same impact,” he said.