British Cycling has rejected a request for the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire to become a four-day race, reports The Yorkshire Post. The race will therefore remain a three-day event and will be staged over the Bank Holiday Weekend next May.
Welcome to Yorkshire’s chief executive, Gary Verity, said last month that the plan was for the 2016 race to feature two hilly stages and two flat stages. He said he was disappointed that British Cycling’s decision meant that this would not be the case.
“We’ve nothing but the highest regard for British Cycling with all that they have achieved over the last few years, including their record in delivering Great Britain cycling medals. However, we are disappointed by the decision of the British Cycling Board not to support our plans for expansion of the Tour de Yorkshire next year.
“Following the great success of the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire we have had huge support for our plans to grow the 2016 race; from professional cycling teams, broadcasters, local authorities, the people of Yorkshire and even the Prime Minister.”
By upgrading the Tour de Yorkshire’s status from 2.1 to 2.HC, Welcome to Yorkshire and partners ASO had hoped to tempt bigger names to take part as well as bringing in sponsors to lift the profile of the women's race. Verity said that he would try to persuade the governing body to change its decision.
A British Cycling statement read:
“The board revisited the previous classification decision and reviewed the duration increase request in detail but concluded that the event should remain at three days and with 2.1 classification for 2016.
“This format was agreed in the contract signed with Welcome to Yorkshire and was the basis upon which the event was approved as part of a balanced international racing calendar which ensures people across Britain have a chance to see world-class cycling on our roads.”
British Cycling said that the decision was partly made based on UCI calendar reforms expected towards the end of the year. The organisation feels these will need to be understood before committing to any changes and also said that four months after the inaugural even was ‘too soon for the meaningful analysis needed to reframe a four-year agreement.’
The organisation was also keen to stress that professional racing was not the sole key to promoting cycling in the region. “A stage race for professional road cyclists – regardless of whether it is three or four days – will not on its own sustain the wider impacts and benefits for cycling needed for the transformation of cycling in Yorkshire and to which Welcome to Yorkshire has committed.”