Next year’s edition of the Tour de Yorkshire has been cancelled due to a combination of a shortfall in funding and the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, according to organisers, casting doubt over the future of the race.
First held in 2015 as a legacy of the previous year’s Grand Depart of the Tour de France, the men’s race and accompanying women’s event have attracted millions of spectators to the roadside and generated almost £100 million for the local economy, as well as being broadcast worldwide.
However, organisers Welcome to Yorkshire and Tour de France owners ASO, who stage the race in partnership with British Cycling, have announced that the edition planned for next May will not go ahead.
That follows the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 editions of the race due to the coronavirus crisis.
James Mason, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, commented: “This has been an intense period of back and forth discussions about the 2022 Tour de Yorkshire over many months.
“The race is a much-loved international sports event which showcases Yorkshire across the globe. So many people involved in the decision making process understand just how popular the race is.
“We had every intention for the race to go ahead but unfortunately some of the circumstances were out of our control and sometimes you have to make big calls for the right reasons. People from Yorkshire are proud and we only want the best for the county.
“We still have ambitions for large events going forward to put Yorkshire on the world stage and we will continue to work with our partners to plan for those,” he added.
Even before the pandemic struck, the future of the event looked uncertain, with 2019 UCI Road World Championships host Harrogate and Scarborough – the latter featuring in every edition so far – ruling themselves out for future editions.
Meanwhile, the departure of Welcome to Yorkshire’s former chief executive Sir Gary Verity following allegations about expenses spending and behaviour towards staff was followed by a cash crisis at the inward investment and tourism agency, which is funded by local authorities in the region, a number of which expressed concerns about paying for the race in future.
Welcome to Yorkshire chair Peter Box said: “Whilst the news about the Tour de Yorkshire will be disappointing to hear for many, it’s important for Welcome to Yorkshire to now focus on imminent events and to continue planning for future annual campaigns, similar to 2021’s acclaimed ‘Walkshire’, promoting the whole of the county every day of the year.
“The last eighteen months have seen turbulent times for many businesses and for tourism, with financial restrictions which must be addressed and considered in all decision-making processes. The ongoing support of Welcome to Yorkshire’s partners across the county is gratefully acknowledged and we look forward to continuing working together going forward.”
He added: “The organisation has shown immense creativity, skill and expertise at arranging and hosting a wide-range of award-winning events in the past and it will continue to do so.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.