Is domestic racing in the UK in freefall?

Cancelled races, folded teams, bankrupt organisers, Britain’s domestic road racing scene appears to be in tatters. But is the outlook really as dire as it seems? Charlie Graham-Dixon investigates

A group of cyclists racing
(Image credit: Andy Jones/Future)

Given all the doom-laden headlines and social media posts over the past couple of years, you would be forgiven for thinking the UK domestic road racing scene is in a state of deep crisis. With teams folding, races cancelled and investment from local authorities reduced, it is clear the scene faces stern challenges. But how bad is the situation really? I decided to speak to race organisers, team directors and riders to find out. 

Looking back at a seemingly brighter past, there were six British men’s UCI Continental teams in 2019 and 2020. There are now just two in 2024, the fewest in 15 years. Some of the UK’s biggest races have been cancelled or are under threat. The Tour de Yorkshire, a prestigious UCI stage race previously won by WorldTour stars Thomas Voeckler and Greg Van Avermaet, was discontinued in 2019. That race, aside from boosting the Yorkshire region, also served as a shop window for young UK talent, who could flex their muscles alongside WorldTour riders and potentially be scouted to the highest level of the sport. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Britain’s dwindling race scene
Rutland-Melton Cicle Classic1.2YesNo*NoYesYesNo**
Ford RideLondon Classique2.WWTYesNoNoYesYesYes
Women’s Tour***2.WWTYesNoYesYesNoYes
Tour of Britain2.ProYesNoYesYesYesYes
Tour de Yorkshire2.HCYesNoNoNoNoNo
Tour de Yorkshire (WMN)2.1YesNoNoNoNoNo
Women’s Tour of Scotland2.1YesNoNoNoNoNo
Total702433Row 7 - Cell 7

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Charlie Graham-Dixon

Charlie Graham-Dixon is a freelance journalist and keen road rider based in London.