British Cycling has announced that it will put the organisation of the Tour of Britain out to an open tender, to the chagrin of current organiser SweetSpot Group. "The running of key road cycling event, the Tour of Britain, is to be put out to an open tender to decide who will take it forward from 2014 onwards,” read a statement released on Friday.
Brian Cookson OBE, the president of British Cycling, said that after the recent successes including Bradley Wiggins' victory at the Tour de France and the 16 gold medals from the 2012 London Olympics, “it’s important that we take a fresh look at how the Tour of Britain can deliver continued growth and profile for the sport.
"We look forward to further developing an event that reflects the current status of our sport in this country."
Sport marketing and events company SweetSpot Group has organized the race since its beginning in 2004, “but the time is now right to assess all options,” Cookson said. “Most crucially, we want to assure our current and future members and all cycling fans that we will have their interests at heart throughout this process and we look forward to further developing an event that reflects the current status of our sport in this country.”
SweetSpot responded with “surprise and disappointment at the decision by British Cycling to seek expressions of interest to tender for the right to organise The Tour of Britain from 2014 onwards.” The group will apply to continue its participation.
SweetSpot pointed to its initiation of the revival of the The Tour of Britain in 2004 after a five-year absence, and said that its plans and actions over the last ten years have “been vindicated by the consistent growth and increased profile of the event, despite having to endure one of the worst recessions in living memory.”
The group also noted that it had “created unrivaled relationships with stakeholders around the country, including the police, highway authorities and the regions, counties, cities and towns into which The Tour of Britain has been invited since 2004, taking the race to millions of spectators around the UK. SweetSpot will continue to protect the interests of these stakeholders many of whom can also take much of the credit for the revival of what has become an iconic event.”
It summed up, “The SweetSpot team would like to state its continued commitment, investment and passion for organising and promoting national and international cycling events, and look forward to announcing details of the 2013 Tour of Britain and Tour Series early in the New Year.”