Chancellor George Osborne has announced that Yorkshire is hoping to bring the world road race championships back to Britain. Although British Cycling must first decide if staging the worlds is feasible, Osborne said the Treasury would support a bid as part of the government’s long-term plan for Yorkshire.
While on a tour to set out a long-term economic plan for Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire, Osborne said that the government would back proposals to bring the World Road Championships to the region.
In order for this to happen, British Cycling would have to invite expressions of interest and the bid would then go out to tender before a decision on location was made with no guarantee that Yorkshire would be selected. Funding must also be in place prior to any bid, although Osborne's announcement would seem to indicate that this would not be an issue for Yorkshire.
The head of Welcome to Yorkshire, Gary Verity, told The Guardian that hosting the world championships would be of benefit to the whole country – not just Yorkshire.
“It will be a large amount of work that will have to be put in through a collegiate approach with British Cycling. We will have to sit down, have a conversation about how we can look at putting together a piece of work which will mean we can go to government and say what it will cost, what the benefits might be and what the likelihood of being successful would be.”
Verity did however say that even if successful it would likely be a number of years before Yorkshire hosted the event: “It’s clearly not on for the next four, five or six years, but if it is to happen it would be another step in making Yorkshire the cycling capital of Europe.”
The worlds were last held in Britain in 1982 at Goodwood in Sussex. On that occasion, Mandy Jones took the women’s title on home soil, while Italy’s Giuseppe Saronni beat Greg Lemond and Sean Kelly in the men’s road race.
Yorkshire famously staged the Grand Depart of last year’s Tour de France and will also hold the first instalment of a new annual three-day race, the Tour de Yorkshire, in May. However, the worlds is in many respects a bigger proposition, requiring eight days of road closures due to the multiple categories and various age groups involved and this means that it is actually likely to cost more than the Tour.
Neverthless, Verity is keen to point out that the county’s track record will stand it in good stead should British Cycling decide to invite bids. “We have a compelling case given the success of the Grand Départ. We have ‘previous’ and will look to state our case.”