Harrogate aiming to host prestigious cycle races

Tour de Yorkshire

Published at 12:48pm 13th September 2016. (Updated at 2:03pm 13th September 2016)

It's hoped that Harrogate will be named as one of the host towns for the UCI Road World Championships in 2019.

Prime Minister Theresa May recently announced that the Government is backing a bid to bring the cycle races to Yorkshire.

Welcome to Yorkshire is leading the bid in partnership with the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, UK Sport and British Cycling.

A decision is expected to be made in October at the UCI's annual congress in Qatar.

The Road World Championships is the UCI's flagship event for elite male and female cyclists.

The event takes place over eight days and includes individual and team time trials, as well as full road races for Under 18, Under 23 and Elite riders.

World champions in each of the disciplines are awarded the famous 'rainbow' jersey.

The event attracts up to 1,000 competitors from over 80 nations and is covered by more than 500 media outlets from around the world - broadcasting live to a global audience of more than 300 million people.

It's being described as "a real game-changer" for the Harrogate District.

Councillor Richard Cooper, Leader of Harrogate Borough Council, said: "We have indicated to Welcome to Yorkshire that we would be keen for Harrogate to be considered as a host town should the Yorkshire bid be successful.

"We demonstrated in our hosting of the 2014 Tour de France that we have the capacity and ambition to deliver events on this scale. The Road World Championships is, after the Tour de France, one of the largest annual events in road cycling. It could bring a boost to the district economy comparable with the £19 million secured from the Tour de France and provide an ongoing benefit to the visitor economy through bringing Harrogate to a global audience.

"Harrogate's participation is subject to formal agreement by members and a report is due to be considered at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday 21 September. Cross-party discussion has been held and Liberal Democrat Leader Councillor Pat Marsh has confirmed her group will be supporting the recommendation.

"This is still a bid and there can be no guarantee that it will be successful, however if the Yorkshire proposition is preferred and Harrogate is chosen to host, then we will have three years to make plans which ensure economic benefit is maximised across the district and disruption is kept to an absolute minimum. A priority will be early engagement with the local business community."

Pat Marsh, Leader of Harrogate Borough Council's Liberal Democrat Group, added: "The Road World Championships is the ideal opportunity to build on the legacy of the Tour de France, which had a significant positive impact on cycling and tourism in the district.

"We live in a beautiful part of the world and this is the perfect opportunity to promote ourselves once again on the international stage. It is important that the whole community is aware of the benefits that such an event can bring and should the bid prove to be successful and the decision is made for Harrogate to host the event, we will seek the views of residents and businesses so that we can work together to put on the best possible show."

Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: "We are very grateful to our friends at Harrogate Borough Council for supporting us in our bid to bring the 2019 UCI Road World Championships to Yorkshire.

"Harrogate excelled in every way when the Tour de France Grand Départ came to the county in 2014 and we have no doubt about the credentials Harrogate possesses."