Is Britain's national tour really not as good as Luxembourg's?...

Tour of Britain organisers SweetSpot Group have expressed disappointment that the UCI has not upgraded the status of the British national tour for 2014.

The UCI classifies road stage races on a four-category scale from the lowest, 2.2, through 2.1, 2.HC and WT. As you move up the scale, organisers are obliged to provide greater prize money and the race and its stages attract more UCI points. All of that makes the event more attractive to top riders.

Next year’s race runs from September 7 to 14, and SweetSpot had requested the UCI increase its status from 2.1 to 2.HC, which would have given it equal status to the Tours of Turkey, Austria and Luxembourg.

In a statement, SweetSpot Group said:

SweetSpot have contacted both the UCI and British Cycling to request an explanation for the decision and would like to register their disappointment at the continued lack of communication from the UCI on the matter over the past 24-months.

Thus far an adequate explanation for the decision or clarification on the criteria for an upgrade to HC status has not been provided.

SweetSpot firmly believe that after a decade of continued growth and development, and with global live television coverage for the past two years, The Tour of Britain deserves to be elevated to HC status for 2014.

Under 2.HC status The Tour of Britain would be afforded more UCI points and an increased prize fund, while also allowing for a greater percentage of the field to be drawn from the UCI Pro Team division.

Domestic UCI Continental teams registered in the UK and a Great Britain national team would still be allowed to participate in the race with HC status as per UCI regulation 2.1.005.

The Tour of Britain is currently ranked at the 2.1 level by the UCI, the third tier of ranking for stage races. The current 2014 UCI Europe Tour calendar lists thirteen 2.HC events between March and August, including the Tours of Turkey, Belgium and Denmark, with the Tour of Norway joining the list of HC events for 2014.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.