There are hopes that the Tour de Yorkshire may return at some point in the future, despite co-organisers Welcome To Yorkshire entering administration earlier this month.
This year’s edition of the race, launched in 2015 to build on the success of the previous year’s Grand Depart of the Tour de France, was cancelled last August.
> Tour de Yorkshire cancelled for third year in a row, casting doubt over future of race
ASO, which organised the race alongside Welcome To Yorkshire, said at the time that the event -which combines a four-day men’s race alongside a two-day women’s race – would be unviable” as a result of “the impact of the Covid-19, combined with escalating financial challenges.”
The previous two editions of the race, in 2020 and 2021, had also been cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Welcome To Yorkshire entered administration at the start of March after the councils that supported the tourism and inward investment agency agreed to end their funding, reports the Yorkshire Post.
But Carl Les, a board member of Welcome To Yorkshire and leader of North Yorkshire County Council, told the newspaper that the agency’s contract to co-organise the race counts as an asset that may prove attractive to another organisation, and that ASO remains hopeful that the race will return in the future.
“Once there is some clarity about the ownership and the management of the organisation going forward then I’m sure there will be a conversation with ASO,” he said.
“I know ASO were very pleased with the reception they got to staging bike races in this country. Going back to the Grand Départ, they had never seen such a welcome outside of France.
“I also think bike races are extremely important to marketing Yorkshire as a destination.
“I would hope that once the future is more certain, negotiations can start with ASO again about the Tour de Yorkshire,” he added.
“Clearly it is too late this year, but hopefully it can start again next year.”
That would depend, however, on the willingness of councils to spend money to host the starts and finishes of stages, and previously 2019 UCI Road World Championships host Harrogate, plus Scarborough which has featured in each edition of the race to date, had said that they would not host future editions.
Even prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Welcome to Yorkshire was experiencing a cash crisis and in 2019 it needed to take out an emergency loan for £500,000 from North Yorkshire County Council to continue operating.
Earlier this month, the Yorkshire Post said that the Leaders’ Board – comprising the leaders of local councils in Yorkshire as well as the region’s two metro mayors – have been in discussions with administrators about taking over the assets and brand of Welcome to Yorkshire, and have also set up a working group on the future of the agency that is due to report its findings in May.
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