Harrogate says 'no thanks' to Tour de Yorkshire after Worlds experience

Town hosted Tour de France and World Championships but enthusiasm for bike races appears to be waning

Harrogate Borough Council turned down an opportunity for the town to feature in the 2020 Tour de Yorkshire following a series of rows in the wake of its hosting the World Championships in September.

The eight host locations for the 2020 race were unveiled by organisers Welcome to Yorkshire and ASO this week. The Harrogate Advertiser reports that Harrogate council rejected the chance to be among them.

The town also hosted the stage finish on stage one of the 2014 Tour de France, but its enthusiasm for major cycling events appears to be on the wane.

“The council was asked some time ago by Welcome to Yorkshire about whether it would be interested in hosting any elements of the Tour de Yorkshire in 2020,” said Harrogate Borough Council leader, Richard Cooper.

“We declined the offer. I think people want a rest from big events for a while and that is what I want to give them.”

The news comes in the wake of a series of disputes stemming from the aftermath of the World Championships.

The event took place between September 22 and 29 and huge crowds, heavy flooding and heavy goods vehicles resulted in significant damage to local park, The Stray.

Another row broke out over the cleaning up of graffiti painted on the road surface by fans.

The council has responded by setting to work on a new events strategy.

“When it is complete we will consult with residents, businesses and community groups so we can all reach agreement on what kind of events the town wishes to host, the impact those events will have on our daily lives and the benefits they will bring to local businesses,” said Cooper.

The start and finish locations for the 2020 Tour de Yorkshire will therefore be Barnsley, Beverley, Halifax, Huddersfield, Leeds, Leyburn, Redcar and Skipton.

The race takes place next year between Thursday April 30 and Sunday May 3.

Peter Dodd, Commercial Director of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: "It’s always exciting to unveil the host locations for the Tour de Yorkshire and this year is no exception. We’re delighted Huddersfield, Leyburn, Redcar and Skipton will each be making their debuts as we’re always striving to bring our race to new parts of this great county.

"The other locations have already proven themselves as more-than-worthy recipients and we cannot wait to revisit them as well."

Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France at ASO, said: "The Tour de Yorkshire is a true success story and it is now one of the best attended and most dramatic races on the cycling calendar.

"We are delighted to be working in partnership with such a great team at Welcome to Yorkshire and I know our eight start and finish locations will put on a real show in 2020."

The full routes for both the men’s and women’s race will be announced in January along with news about the Tour de Yorkshire Ride sportive.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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