The decision to add a fourth day to the Tour de Yorkshire is a ‘no-brainer’ according to Gary Verity, the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire. The decision rests with British Cycling.
Verity first floated the idea of extending the race by another day last August, and even suggested there would be ‘two hilly routes and two flats’ in 2016. The decision was ultimately rejected by British Cycling, but in the immediate aftermath of this year’s race, Verity reiterated his belief that everyone stood to gain by holding a fourth stage.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, he said: “An extra day wouldn’t cost any money. UCI want it to be over four days, the teams want four days, women’s cycling want it four days, the public of Yorkshire wants four days. It’s a no-brainer.”
This year’s winner, Thomas Voeckler, would doubtless be keen as well. Speaking about the support given to him during the race, he said:
“I felt bad because I was more cheered than some British riders. It was like having a Tour de France stage in my home region, it was so amazing. I am not saying that because I am here, I really feel it. To see my name written on the road or on banners held by children really touches me. I have been a rider for 16 years and I have never seen anything like that.”
Verity paid tribute to Voeckler and said there was much to be discussed in the wake of this year’s edition.
“It’s been a huge success with bigger crowds than we had last year. The quality of the field was fantastic and I’m really pleased we have a fantastic champion in Thomas Voeckler – he is really popular with the crowds.
“We built on last year’s event and have some thoughts that we will debate in the office this week. Some of our ideas depend on if we get an extra day which will mean we can do a lot more for women’s cycling. Having a fourth day will have a massive impact. There is a lot more we can do, such as maybe having a time trial as part of the event.”
Verity believes that a fourth day would add another £10m to the economic benefits of the Tour to the region’s economy and at minimal cost.
Councillor Carl Les, the leader of North Yorkshire County Council, agreed with that assessment and expressed his support. "Spreading the organising costs over four days instead of three probably does mean it can be done at little extra cost, and we support Sir Gary wholeheartedly in his negotiations with the cycling powers.”