ASO plans 3-day stage race in Yorkshire as Tour de France legacy event

Discussions being held with Welcome To Yorkshire and British Cycling over race scheduled to debut in mid-May 2015

by Simon_MacMichael   January 9, 2014  

Christian Prudhomme and Gary Verity at presentation of 2014 TDF Grand Depart (picture by Dave Winter:SWPix.com)

Plans have been revealed for an annual three-day stage race in Yorkshire to be organised by ASO as a lasting sporting legacy event for Yorkshire hosting the Grand Départ of this year’s 101st edition of the Tour de France – with the first edition currently scheduled to take place in May 2015.

Writing in the Guardian, Will Fotheringham says that ASO, Welcome to Yorkshire and British Cycling have already held discussions regarding the new race and that further talks are due to take place.

Christian Prudhomme of ASO, a frequent visitor to Yorkshire both during the bidding process and afterwards, said: "We want to do something. We want something to remain after the Grand Départ has happened."

According to the Guardian, earlier plans to either run a stage race in Yorkshire this year or move the Critérium International there in 2015 were ruled out – the former due to time constraints, the latter because its March date wasn’t suitable for Yorkshire’s weather at that time of year.

As a result, mid-May looks the likeliest time to put the race on – a time of year when it would certainly coincide with the Giro d’Italia. Outside the WorldTour, the Tour of California and Vuelta a Castilla y Leon also currently take place in the middle of the month.

The opening two days of this year’s Tour see an opening stage from Leeds to Harrogate followed one from York to Sheffield – the race then heads to France via a stage from Cambridge to London – but Welcome to Yorkshire’s Gary Verity wants other parts of the region to play host to top-level cycling.

"We will look to spread the event around Yorkshire so that places that haven't received the Tour this year will get the benefit,” he said.

"It will be the same UCI ranking as the Critérium International [which is on the UCI Europe Tour and is categorised 2.HC], and with ASO involved the quality of the riders and teams will be of the highest standard."

The Guardian says that Verity envisages that the Friday of the race would have a time trial followed by a short road stage, with two longer road stages on the Saturday and Sunday.

British Cycling’s cycle sport and membership director, Jonny Clay confirmed to the newspaper that it has been involved in discussions, but said: "We need to be assured that all new international event applications meet a number of criteria.

"They include legacy and sustainability so we're not just looking for events which are successful in the short term but over many years and with obvious benefits to the wider cycling community."

Meanwhile Prudhomme has confirmed that the success of British cyclists at the Tour de France – and in particular, Sir Bradley Wiggins’ victory in 2012, the first by a rider from these shores – was instrumental in the decision to award the Grand Départ to Yorkshire, as was the growth in cycling in Britain.

He said that Florence was the original frontrunner, but Yorkshire also had to see off a Scottish-led bid, backed by British Cycling, that originally envisaged the Tour starting in Edinburgh and remaining north of the border but subsequently extended to an itinerary that would also have taken in England and Wales.

"London in 2007 was my first year at the head of the Tour," Prudhomme explained. "The popular fervour, the enthusiasm, were incredible.

“But it was another world compared to the Grand Départ in Yorkshire. Bradley Wiggins was a great track rider but didn't have the palmarès that he has now; Mark Cavendish was riding his first Tour and had not even won the first of his 25 stages and Chris Froome was still in Africa. It was another era.

"In London in 2007 we said we would come back to England, for certain, but we thought it would be London. In my head it was going to happen 10 years later, and that was the direction we were moving when we had the bid from Yorkshire – what changed the game was the exceptional success of British cyclists on the road.

"Before [the 2012 edition of] Paris-Nice Florence had the edge over Yorkshire for 2014, but then Brad won the Dauphiné and the Tour and the London Olympic Games were a magnificent high point.

"Between March and August 2012 we said we would have to come to England as soon as possible after a British rider won the Tour, and there were four stages in the process – Paris-Nice, Dauphiné, the Tour, the Olympics. That's why we went for Yorkshire over Florence.

“For Yorkshire to win ahead of Florence is no small thing. Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, a really exceptional place, and the Tour has never started from Italy. I could cite other cities but those were the two finalists – the success of the British cyclists tipped the balance."

Last year, ASO was among the companies looking to take over the organisation of the Tour of Britain when British Cycling, which owns the race, put it out to tender, but the event will continue to be organised by SweetSpot, which has done so since it was relaunched in 2004.

SweetSpot, together with the company behind the London Marathon, also launched the inaugural Prudential RideLondon Olympic legacy event last August, which included the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic race as its showpiece, loosely based around the London 2012 road race route.

The Surrey-based company is also launching the Women’s Tour stage race, which will be played out in Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Suffolk, Essex and Hertfordshire this May.

15 user comments

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a 3-day stage race? Sounds great. Where's the funding coming from this time?

posted by andyp [860 posts]
9th January 2014 - 19:27

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andyp wrote:
a 3-day stage race? Sounds great. Where's the funding coming from this time?

Mixture of sponsors and local authority funding I imagine, the latter presumably with a view that the business it drums up for the region making the outlay worth it.

It does sound great, especially if it could be fast-tracked to 2.HC status.

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posted by Ghedebrav [1091 posts]
9th January 2014 - 20:22

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Fantastic, the more events the better. I live in York and love way cycling is growing and growing here.

posted by timrichardson82 [11 posts]
9th January 2014 - 20:28

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As a follower of more than one sport it is really refreshing to hear voices from overseas being so warm and enthusiastic about these shores. Rather than being the fallen powerhouse in the games we gave the world, we're the plucky up-and-comer who is seemingly doing things the right way.

Fantastic legacy if this becomes an annual as proposed with backing from ASO, just wow.

posted by Notsofast [39 posts]
9th January 2014 - 20:35

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Ghedebrav wrote:

Mixture of sponsors and local authority funding I imagine,

shame they couldn't do that for Le Tour...

posted by andyp [860 posts]
9th January 2014 - 21:25

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Sounds fantastic, as a Mancunian I hope they let me cross the border to watch.

posted by GREGJONES [112 posts]
9th January 2014 - 22:08

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andyp wrote:
Ghedebrav wrote:

Mixture of sponsors and local authority funding I imagine,

shame they couldn't do that for Le Tour...

Not sure what your getting at but feel I should correct you anyway.

Local authorities have put in over £11m of the £21m budgeted for the two Yorkshire stages. Local authorities will spend more than that £11m (I am told there is concern about the budget and how it is being spent) and there are reports online from Kirklees, Harrogate and other councils showing additional spending which will be over and above the budget so not sure you can criticise councils - as an aside, Welcome to Yorkshire the agency who made the bid are not funding ANY part of the Le Tour even though they are seeking to make money.

Government put in £10m which has so far funded work by consultants only.

All details can be found online.

Which does make you wonder, all the spending on Le Tour - will any council be prepared to fund more races? ASO took 4m Euros so far for Le Tour so a 3 day race will cost. Maybe East Yorkshire council? Wakefield? Who else isn't part of Le Tour?

posted by TheFog [5 posts]
9th January 2014 - 23:54

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Fine by me!

Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades. (Merckx)

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posted by obutterwick [528 posts]
10th January 2014 - 0:17

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'Government put in £10m which has so far funded work by consultants only.'

And there you have it.

posted by andyp [860 posts]
10th January 2014 - 8:50

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andyp wrote:
'Government put in £10m which has so far funded work by consultants only.'

And there you have it.

I don't think we have seen the £11m promised by government, in fact they threatened to withdraw it from Yorkshire at one point, something about letting the southerners in on the act and wanting to rename Tour de Yorkshire to England... Pathetic.

I am still wondering why UK taxpayers funded 2012!!

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posted by Leodis [196 posts]
10th January 2014 - 9:40

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is this actually going to benefit cyclists in and around yorkshire though? any wider roads with cycle lanes on the stage route? any cycle specific junctions, or improved road signage, lower car speeds (these roads can be twisty and fast) and improved lighting for the autumn and winter months....

probably not.

just milk the cash cow tourist while wiggo or froome are at the top of the sport and hope more cyclists will rent holiday homes in the summer to ride.

posted by a_to_the_j [73 posts]
10th January 2014 - 10:58

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posted by Sim1 [57 posts]
10th January 2014 - 11:04

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Leodis wrote:
andyp wrote:
'Government put in £10m which has so far funded work by consultants only.'

And there you have it.

I don't think we have seen the £11m promised by government, in fact they threatened to withdraw it from Yorkshire at one point, something about letting the southerners in on the act and wanting to rename Tour de Yorkshire to England... Pathetic.

I am still wondering why UK taxpayers funded 2012!!

Cos of me, I went to loads of the events and had a brilliant time. One of the best fortnights of my life.

posted by Sim1 [57 posts]
10th January 2014 - 11:05

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TheFog wrote:

Which does make you wonder, all the spending on Le Tour - will any council be prepared to fund more races? ASO took 4m Euros so far for Le Tour so a 3 day race will cost. Maybe East Yorkshire council? Wakefield? Who else isn't part of Le Tour?

The same East Yorkshire Council that tried to block any and all open road races from happening earlier this year? That would be a remarkable change of heart!

posted by joeweston3 [2 posts]
10th January 2014 - 12:49

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Sim1 wrote:

Cos of me, I went to loads of the events and had a brilliant time. One of the best fortnights of my life.

Smile
I must admit when it was originally announced I was a bit nonplussed, and a bit disillusioned by the results of the first ticket ballot.

But in the last round, managed to get seats for rhythmic gymnastics, and tickets for the men's RR at box hill (princely sum of £10 ea.) Had an excellent time, great atmosphere too (tho' you could almost have heard a pin drop at the Box Hill big screen as the return leg unfolded). Also took the day off for the TT.
Also got cheap seats (spare press ones) for GB womens volleyball (the indoor version) whilst they were on general sale.

The Box Hill trip's even turned my OH into a cycling spectator !
She almost wet herself with excitement when she spotted Cavendish as they came through Epsom for the ToB, and we think he spotted her, judging by the huge grin on his face Wink So we're off to watch the London leg of the Revolution series later this year..

posted by JonD [180 posts]
10th January 2014 - 13:03

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