Yorkshire could be a step closer to hosting the UCI Road World Championships after a phenomenally successful first edition of the Tour de Yorkshire that brought nearly 1.5 million people onto the streets to watch the three-day race.
Around half of those watched yesterday’s final stage from Wakefield to Leeds, despite intermittent rain, while six figure crowds also greeted Friday’s opener from Bridlington to Scarborough and Saturday’s stage from Selby to York.
Yesterday, the throng on some of the climbs was similar to that seen during last year’s Tour de France Grand Depart, an astonishing turnout for a race that is ranked UCI.2.1.
Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity says that teaming up with British Cycling to bid to host the Worlds is a logical next step.
“We would love to have the world championships here in Yorkshire,” said Verity, reports Mail Online. “It's an obvious thing.
“The world championships I think would love to come to Yorkshire after what you've seen over the last few days, one and a half million people out for the first edition of a new race.
“You see much smaller crowds at other events so why wouldn't you want to come here? We have all the ingredients.”
British Cycling partnered with Welcome to Yorkshire and Tour de France owners ASO to host the Tour de Yorkshire, which will return next year with a different route and different start and finish towns.
Verity said that while he has spoken with British Cycling about the possibility of a bid being made, discussions are at an early stage.
The UCI Road World Championships have taken place twice before in the UK – in Liverpool in 1922, Leicester in 1970 and at West Sussex’s Goodwood motor racing circuit in 1982.
Certainly Yorkshire’s terrain seems entirely suitable for the type of race that typically features in the race for the rainbow jersey – one of attrition, where short but tough climbs continue to make a selection until just the strongest riders are left in contention.
This year's event is being held in Richmond, Virginia.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.