Yorkshire, which hosted the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in 2014, is aiming to bring the race back within the next five years, and is also hoping to host the opening days of the Vuelta.
Plans to bring cycling’s biggest race back to the region were outlined by Welcome To Yorkshire commercial director Peter Dodd following the end of the Tour de Yorkshire on Sunday.
He told Telegraph Sport: “It's ongoing conversations. Firstly, to bring the Vuelta here and then, we say this publicly, our belief is it's a question of when the Tour de France comes back to Yorkshire and not if.”
Dodd revealed that Charles Ojalvo, director of partnerships and public relations at Unipublic, which organises the Vuelta and is owned by Tour de France owners ASO, visited last week’s race and was “amazed by the crowds and the [sponsor] activation.
“It's too early to put a date on it but I would think in the next five years,” he continued. “That's both of them. Our ambition would be to host the Vuelta and then the Tour de France shortly after. The next five or six years.”
On the question of whether 2024 might be an appropriate date for the Tour de France to return, given that would be a decade on from the region first hosting the race, he said: “That would be nice. It's not our choice but that is still on our agenda. There is an amazing desire from our partners for the Vuelta to come to Yorkshire and for the Tour de France to come back.”
The race was originally brought to the region thanks to the efforts of former Tour de Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity, who was also led its successful bid for this year’s UCI Road Cycling World Championships but who departed suddenly earlier this year due to an investigation into expenses.
Dodd said that Verity’s departure would not affect the future of the Tour de Yorkshire, which this year saw some thrilling racing in both the men’s and women’s races and attracted 2 million spectators over the four days despite inclement weather.
“We are committed on paper to 2020 or 2021,” he explained. “But we will probably sign a new contract [with ASO] this year which will take us forward into the 2020s.
“As I've travelled around Yorkshire, various chief execs have said to me, 'You do know I'm down for a stage start or a stage finish don't you?' Literally we are oversubscribed. I think we had 16 potential starts and finishes for 2019, and off the top of my head I think we've probably got 14 for next year.”
He added: “We've got some sponsors committed for 2021 and probably one or two will go to 2022. Some sponsors are one year, some are on two- or three-year contracts.
"One or two existing partners who were with us this week were saying they might do more with us and try to activate the sponsorship across the year or a nine-month period, rather than just the race itself.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.