If Yorkshire is positioning itself as the new capital of cycling in Britain, then Harrogate can lay claim to being the epicentre of that revolution.
For the North Yorkshire spa town has today been named as the main competition hub and finish location for every race of the 2019 UCI Road World Championships.
Six other towns and cities spanning the compass points across the Broad Acres have also been named as start locations for the wide range of men’s, women’s and junior races which take place over nine days in September 2019. Beverley, Doncaster, Leeds, Northallerton, Ripon and York will all play a role as starting points in the biggest festival of cycling to visit Yorkshire since the groundbreaking Grand Depart of the 2014 Tour de France sparked the county’s love affair with the sport.
And Harrogate is at the very heart of that romance.
Parliament Street which beats a path straight through the centre of town was the scene of Mark Cavendish’s infamous crash on stage one of the 2014 Tour de France and hometown heroine Lizzie Deignan’s burst to glory at the Asda Women’s Tour de Yorkshire at the end of April.
“Harrogate has all the right ingredients to make it the hub of these world championships,” said Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity, the architect behind the many cycling events that have come to this county.
Harrogate has all the right ingredients to make it the hub of these world championships.Sir Gary Verity
“It has all the hotel stock which is in walking distance of the finish. It has the conference centre which will house the world’s media and will host the annual conference between all the world’s governing bodies.
“Harrogate also combines the two elements that have made Yorkshire stand out over the last few years; the huge crowds and the stunning scenery.”
Councillor Stanley Lumley, Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet member for culture, tourism and sports, added: “We have strong ambitions for the district to be recognised as a host of major events and we are well on our way to achieving this vision.
“Being recognised as a host of major events brings significant rewards. Such events put our district firmly on the world stage. These events are also a boost for tourism and our local economy through the increased number of visitors they bring to the district and the money they spend whilst they are here.”
Leeds Council leader Judith Blake said: “Hosting such a prestigious global event with the world’s finest cyclists again coming to our city would be fantastic for Leeds. The success of the Tour de France, followed by the Tour de Yorkshire and World Triathlon Series has put Leeds and Yorkshire firmly on the world sporting map.”
Yorkshire was announced as the host for the 2019 UCI Road World Championships during last year’s worlds in Doha.
The bid is a joint venture between Welcome to Yorkshire, British Cycling, UK Sport and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and is underwritten to the tune of £24m by the government, with a further £3m coming from the National Lottery through UK Sport.