SweetSpot wins contract to stage Tour of Britain for a further five years

Surrey-based company behind race's success since its revival in 2004 tasked by British Cycling with raising its profile even further

by Simon_MacMichael   July 31, 2013  

Geraint Thomas tracks Lars Boom, 2011 Tour of Britain (copyright Simon MacMichael)

SweetSpot, the Surrey-based company that has staged the Tour of Britain for the past decade since the race was relaunched in 2004, has been awarded the contract to organise the event for the next five years by the race owners, British Cycling.

The race, originally run as the Victory Marathon in 1945, has also gone by names such as the Milk Race, the Kellogg’s Tour and the PruTour during its existence, but that reliance on headline sponsorship made it vulnerable to financial pressures, and from 1995-97 and again from 2000-03 it was not held.

Under SweetSpot’s care, there is no longer that reliance on title sponsorship and, coinciding with the rise of Great Britain as a force on the track and, more recently, the road, the UCI 2.1 categorised event has gone from strength to strength – race director Mick Bennett has promised that this September’s edition will be “the most challenging Tour of Britain yet.”

The route has been getting tougher each year, and is also attracting a stronger field with each edition, including in the past two years both Thor Hushovd and Mark Cavendish in the rainbow jersey taking their final wins of their reign as world road champions.

British Cycling has set SweetSpot the task of raising the profile of the race further and achieve UCI HC categorisation, one tier below WorldTour level, and putting it on an equal footing with races such as the Tour of California.

Regarding the award of the contract to organise the race for 2014-18, Jonny Clay, director of Cyclesport and Membership at British Cycling, commented:  “We’re delighted to announce SweetSpot will continue as British Cycling’s delivery partner for the Tour of Britain.

“I would like to thank them and the other bidders and also thank The Sports Consultancy for leading a tender process which attracted significant global interest.

“At the start of this process, we wanted to ensure we got the best possible deal for Britain’s cycling fans, to put in place a structure which would help the Tour of Britain graduate into the top division of the global cycling calendar.

“Of the many responses we received, SweetSpot best demonstrated an understanding of our desire for integrated activity and the strong relationship we would like our national tour to have with our wider programmes and initiatives.

“We’re confident the new commitment made by SweetSpot to grow the event’s stature and reputation, as well as the promise to raise standards in many areas, will deliver what fans of the sport want to see from our national tour in the future.

“The agreement sets out clear objectives for SweetSpot including the attainment of HC status for the race, a milestone that along with other improvements will help to encourage the participation of the very best teams and riders in the world.”

SweetSpot’s Director of Cycling at Sweetspot, Mick Bennett, added: “We are simply thrilled to be reappointed as British Cycling’s delivery partner for the Tour of Britain for another five years.

“We are proud of the work we have done over the last 10 years in making the Tour of Britain the event it is today and I look forward to working closely with British Cycling to deliver an even brighter future for the race.”

Besides organising the Tour of Britain, SweetSpot has also successfully developed the Pearl Izumi Tour Series of city-centre criteriums in recent years plus its female equivalent, the Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series.

This weekend sees the inaugural Prudential RideLondon event, which SweetSpot is organising jointly with the owners of the London Marathon.

In recent days, the company has also confirmed plans to stage a new five-day race, The Women’s Tour, with the first edition due to be held in May next year.

 

6 user comments

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Well done SS.

I wonder how ASO got on with their bid if at all

posted by kitkat [198 posts]
31st July 2013 - 15:20

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What is the chance of the TOB coming further north than Peebles in the next five years then?

posted by bauchlebastart [84 posts]
31st July 2013 - 15:49

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Pleased to see 'em get it - seemed a bit crap to have them do a decent job since 2004 and then have BC lob it to ASO at the point when cycling's getting more popular.

(Tho' I'd be interested to find out who exactly was handling the logistics of the RideLondon sportive. Back in mid-june when I got a late offer of a place there was precious little detail available on arrangements for bike dropoff/park-ride etc - couldn't rely on anything that close to a holiday that I'd booked after the original ballot, so had to withdraw Sad )

posted by JonD [180 posts]
31st July 2013 - 16:21

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Quote:
Pleased to see 'em get it - seemed a bit crap to have them do a decent job since 2004 and then have BC lob it to ASO at the point when cycling's getting more popular.

BC didn't "lob it" to anybody! It was always in the contract that there would be a tender process after [x] years, that's how you keep things fair and transparent and ensure the continued success of the Tour by putting the best possible people in charge of it.

In this case, Sweetspot proved (in an open tender) that they are the best - hats off to them but don't stick the knife into BC over it! I know it's oh so fashionable to blame BC/the UCI for a lot of cycling's ills but they don't deserve it ALL the time! Wink

posted by crazy-legs [506 posts]
31st July 2013 - 19:48

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good to hear.
wonder what the chances are of getting the race a bit higher up the UCI rankings now its back established in the racing calendar??
most of the world tour teams seem to be sending teams over for it now.
could it be extended to 9/10 days????

posted by mpt68 [101 posts]
31st July 2013 - 21:24

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crazy-legs wrote:

BC didn't "lob it" to anybody! It was always in the contract that there would be a tender process after [x] years, that's how you keep things fair and transparent and ensure the continued success of the Tour by putting the best possible people in charge of it.

In this case, Sweetspot proved (in an open tender) that they are the best - hats off to them but don't stick the knife into BC over it! I know it's oh so fashionable to blame BC/the UCI for a lot of cycling's ills but they don't deserve it ALL the time! Wink

You're assuming a little too much from what I wrote (tho' it tad a little unclear perhaps), and it's nothing to do with sticking the knife in BC, just how some business seem to work.
I'm quite aware it was a tender process, but it was also quite likely that a company with a lot of experience of high profile events would win. It reminded me of one (or more ?) cases in the UK with the Forestry Commission where an existing incumbent has done a lot of work in establishing facilities at a trail centre - making it a success - only for the FC to come along with 'goodbye and thanks for all the fish. Some years ago I worked for a UK consultancy where we did a lot of proof-of concept work for one of the branches of the US armed forces, with a decent expectation to pick up the work if the trial was successful. Once another branch got involved it got a bit political, and the development work went to one very well-known US contractor.

Business isn't always about putting it out to tender to the 'best' candidate wins- there's also the matter of working in long-standing partnership with a company and allowing them to develop too.

posted by JonD [180 posts]
1st August 2013 - 9:50

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