By Nigel Wynn
Tour de France organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) is in discussions with British Cycling and Yorkshire to host an annual three-day stage race in the county, starting from May 2015.
According to the Guardian on Thursday, meetings have already taken place between the parties as the planning process commences for a 'legacy' event after the Tour Grand Depart in Yorkshire this summer.
Tour director Christiam Prudhomme is keen on keeping the relationship going with Yorkshire, and has been impressed by the success of British cyclists in the years since the Tour last visited Britain in 2007 - not least Tour winners Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, as well as 25-time Tour stage winner Mark Cavendish.
Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity told the Guardian that the race will likely take place in mid-May 2015, and feature a two-stage opening day, including a time trial, with longer road stages held on Saturday and Sunday. The race will visit towns not used for the Tour stages this summer.
Initially, the race will aim to be UCI rank 2.HC - the same as the Criterium International.
In addition to the Tour de France visiting Yorkshire this year, Ireland will host the opening stages of the 2014 Giro d'Italia, and the RideLondon-Surrey Classic one-day race and Tour of Britain stage race will also once again take place, providing an array of top-level road cycling in the UK.
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