Tour de Yorkshire: Will the cycling race ever return?

The future of the Tour de Yorkshire remains uncertain but the cycling race has not been permanently cancelled.

The 2022 Tour de Yorkshire has been cancelled, after the 2020 and 2021 races were postponed due to Covid-19.
The 2022 Tour de Yorkshire has been cancelled, after the 2020 and 2021 races were postponed due to Covid-19.

Co-organisers Welcome to Yorkshire went into administration earlier this month after councils in the county agreed to stop funding the troubled tourism agency. Administrators are now accepting bids for the business and its assets.

But board member Carl Les said the contract to run the cycling race is an asset of Welcome to Yorkshire that another organisation may decide to take on in the coming months.

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He also said co-organisers Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) had expressed an interest in bringing the race back to Yorkshire, after it was called off for a third year in a row in August 2021.

Mr Les, who is also leader of North Yorkshire County Council, said: “Once there is some clarity about the ownership and the management of the organisation going forward then I’m sure there will be a conversation with ASO.

“I know ASO were very pleased with the reception they got to staging bike races in this country. Going back to the Grand Départ, they had never seen such a welcome outside of France.

“I also think bike races are extremely important to marketing Yorkshire as a destination.”

He added: “I would hope that once the future is more certain, negotiations can start with ASO again about the Tour de Yorkshire. Clearly it is too late this year, but hopefully it can start again next year.”

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When asked about the future of the cycling race, the ASO declined the opportunity.

The 2022 Tour de Yorkshire has been cancelled, after the 2020 and 2021 races were postponed due to Covid-19.

ASO and Welcome to Yorkshire said the 2022 race “would be unviable” due to “the impact of the Covid-19, combined with escalating financial challenges”.

It has struggled to attract sponsorship in recent years and Welcome to Yorkshire claimed last year it was no longer in a position to subsidise the event and called on nine councils to each provide £100,000 of financial support and another £100,000 to cover potential sponsorship losses.

Welcome to Yorkshire is required to support the race until 2024, under the terms of a 10-year contract, but last year then-chief executive James Mason admitted to council leaders that it had become “a financial drain” on the organisation.

In an email obtained by The Yorkshire Post, he wrote: “Whilst we are fully supportive of the race and is a fantastic event which brings a huge amount of civic pride and economic activity to the region, it has never delivered a profit for WtY and in fact one could argue the financial drain on the organisation has created some of our challenges in recent years as the organisation has had to put in large chunks of its operational budget to cover the shortfall.

“We can no longer afford to do this.”

Earlier this year, it was announced that rival race Tour of Britain will be returning to Yorkshire for the first time since 2009.

Elite cyclists will ride through Redcar & Cleveland and North Yorkshire on Wednesday, September 7, during the fourth stage of the cross-country race, but the exact route has not been finalised.

Organisers Sweetspot Group approached the council about bringing the cycling race back to Yorkshire last summer, before the Tour de Yorkshire was cancelled.

Councils in Yorkshire had signed a contract which prohibits them from hosting another major cycling race two months before, or one month after, the Tour de Yorkshire.