Former world pursuit champion and current Tour of Britain Event Director Tony Doyle has pronounced himself happy with the 2005 edition of the contest. Huge crowds and warm sunshine in London yesterday topped off a good week of racing.
"Overall, we have been delighted about the event," Doyle told Cyclingnews. "We have had a fantastic team working on the race. The great thing is that they have a lot of passion, they are all enthusiastic and they all worked terribly hard. Organising anything is never easy, and running a Tour of Britain over six days is a lot of work and long hours for everybody. But it is the goodwill and passion that makes the difference, from people who really wanted the event to happen. It is the willingness to help and support which makes the difference, together with the belief in the event.
"That sort of energy transfers to the general public. We were very impressed by the size of the crowds that we passed in the course of the race. So that gives us a lot of heart. There has been a lot of hard work behind this but the quality of the racing and the level of interest means it has been a genuine pleasure to be involved."
The Tour of Britain is the current incarnation of the race formerly run as the PruTour. Doyle is ambitious about the plans for it. "It is only the second year that we have been working on the event, but we have been very pleased with how it has all come together. We have also been pleased to see how the media has grown since last year. We know that there's a lot more interest there; the media that has been involved have enjoyed it and we have enjoyed working with them.
"We realise that there's a lot more that we can do. We are going to extend the event to seven, or even eight days next year. That will mean we'll be able to take the race to a lot more places that we weren't able to get to. And it will help the event to grow even more.
In addition to lengthening the race, Doyle says that he is interested in exploring the possibility of becoming part of the ProTour. "Perhaps in time we would like to see what could happen with the ProTour, but it's early days yet as regards that. The good thing from our point of view is that we know that this race is by far the biggest event to happen within the UK. British cycling has worked very closely with us and we know that they believe in the event. They want the events to grow and so together, we can really make things happen.
"The great thing is there is so much happening in the world of cycling in the UK. We have had great successes at the world championships and the Olympics, and of course cycling has been very much to the fore in Great Britain's medal table. With the Olympic Games coming here in only seven years time, it is starting to become more and more front page rather than back page news."