The Tour de Yorkshire will remain a three day event in 2016 after British Cycling turned down a bid from Welcome to Yorkshire to increase the event to four days in length.
Welcome to Yorkshire (WTY) received the backing of Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this week as they made a bid to extend the race, which enjoyed tremendous success in its inaugural edition over the May Bank Holiday earlier this year.
WTY, who run the event with Tour de France organisers ASO, also bid to up the classification of the race to 2.HC, putting it on a par with the eight-day Tour of Britain. This was also declined.
“We’ve nothing but the highest regard for British Cycling with all that they have achieved over the last few years, including their record in delivering Great Britain cycling medals. However, we are disappointed by the decision of the British Cycling Board not to support our plans for expansion of the Tour de Yorkshire next year,” said WTY boss Sir Gary Verity in a statement.
“Following the great success of the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire we have had huge support for our plans to grow the 2016 race; from professional cycling teams, broadcasters, Local Authorities, the people of Yorkshire and even the Prime Minister.
“We will continue to try to persuade the British Cycling Board to change their minds.”
Watch: Highlights of the 2015 Tour de Yorkshire
In response to WTY, British Cycling issued a statement confirming the decision by the board to keep the race in its current format.
“This format was agreed in the contract signed with Welcome to Yorkshire and was the basis upon which the event was approved as part of a balanced international racing calendar which ensures people across Britain have a chance to see world-class cycling on our roads,” it read.
“The Tour de Yorkshire’s place in the international cycling calendar is much-coveted in this country and abroad, and we have a responsibility to ensure the best return possible for the sport.
“The decision was also made in the light of the UCI’s reforms of the calendar, expected towards the end of the year, and which need to be understood before further decisions can be made on British Cycling’s major events strategy.
“The board wanted to stress they were encouraged by the initial success of the Tour de Yorkshire but four months after the inaugural event is too soon for the meaningful analysis needed to reframe a four-year agreement. All the signs are that the Tour de Yorkshire will be successful but more evidence is required before an informed judgement can be made.”
It is not known how the decision will affect organisers’ plans to develop the women’s race, which was run as a one-day race around a circuit in York in 2015.
Cycling Weekly understands that there is additional concern that an expanded Tour de Yorkshire could draw local authority funds away from other aspects of cycling such as facilities or other events.
This year’s race was won by Sky’s Lars Petter Nordhaug and drew estimated crowds of 1.5 million people over May 1-3 with stages visiting Bridlington, Scarborough, Selby, York, Wakefield and Leeds.