The 2016 Tour de Yorkshire could be held over four days instead of three, says Gary Verity, the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire. The Yorkshire Post reports how Verity is also keen to see the women’s race get more attention.
The inaugural Tour de Yorkshire, won by Team Sky’s Lars Petter Nordhaug, was said to have attracted nearly 1.5 million people to watch from the roadside. Reacting to its popularity, Verity would like to see it span four days instead of three.
Speaking at a Scarborough Cricket Festival dinner, he described the public response to the race as ‘astonishing’.
“Yorkshire has record visitor numbers. We wanted to have an event to unite the county and nothing united the county like the Tour de France.
“It will come back again. And following the Tour de Yorkshire success, in September we will announce the areas, with the full route revealed in December. It will be four days this year, two hilly routes and two flats.”
This year, Louise Mahé won the Tour de Yorkshire women’s race which was held in York city centre. Verity said of this event: “I want to increase the focus on women’s races to make it more in line with the men’s event.”
While on the face of it Yorkshire appears to be embracing bike racing, that isn’t necessarily the full picture. Yesterday we reported how South Yorkshire Police have suspended all road racing in the region following complaints. A meeting is scheduled with Highways and British Cycling next week to discuss safety concerns, but in a statement British Cycling Yorkshire seemed almost resigned to the loss of some races in a bid to “tackle any ongoing problems that are concerning the people that authorise these events”.