Yorkshire’s status as the premier destination for global cycling events was confirmed yesterday when the sport’s governing body awarded the 2019 UCI Road World Championships to the county.
The successful bid – which eclipsed rival proposals from Colombia, Canada, Italy and Germany – builds on the legacy of the county’s hugely successful staging of the Grand Départ of the 2014 Tour de France.
Welcome to Yorkshire, which brought the Tour de France to the region two years ago, has again been a driving force behind the plan.
But on this occasion it is a collegiate bid shared between Welcome to Yorkshire, UK Sport, British Cycling and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
The Government has underwritten the £24m bid, £15m of which will be used to develop 27 cycle sport facilities across the UK.
In addition there is £3m of National Lottery funding from UK Sport.
The 2019 UCI Road World Championships will be staged in the third week of September.
Twelve races will be held over eight days with time-trials and Under-23 events leading into the women’s and men’s road races on the final weekend, when the best cyclists in the world compete for the coveted rainbow jersey.
Organisers confirmed last night that the race will touch all four corners of Yorkshire.
A world championship entourage consists of around 7,000 people, including riders, journalists and support staff.
The staging of the two days of the Tour de France in 2014 yielded an estimated £100m for the local economy, with the Road World Championships expected to net a similar reward for the county.
But as much as finance, the eight days of racing in front of what is expected to be pavements packed with people and natural ampitheatres heaving with spectators, is a huge rolling postcard for Yorkshire.
“This is an historic day and it firmly cements Yorkshire’s status as one of the cycling capitals of Europe,” said Sir Gary Verity, the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire.
Brian Cookson, president of the UCI and a Lancastrian, said: “The county’s successful staging of the Tour de France Grand Départ was an important factor in the decision.
“Yorkshire showed great enthusiasm for cycling, has a great heritage and has shown real expertise in hosting major cycling events.”
And Verity believes that pedigree in hosting the 2014 Grand Départ and two versions of the Tour de Yorkshire legacy race, will stand them in good stead for the world championships.
“In some respects it will be a bigger logistical challenge just in terms of the number of days,” he said.It’s like having folk come round for dinner – whether you’ve got four people, six people or eight people coming, once you’ve put the oven on you’ve got to do the work.
“Any big event on the scale of a Tour de France or a Road World Championship, once you strike up the gear, you’ve got huge amounts of work to do.”
Denise Burton-Cole – a world championships bronze medallist in 1975 and daughter of two-time world champion Beryl Burton OBE – believes this is a momentous day for Yorkshire.
She said: “My mother would have been very proud, as I am, for Yorkshire to be hosting such an important event.”
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