Tour de France organisers ASO have confirmed their backing for a three-day race provisionally titled "The Tour of Yorkshire", with the first edition set to take place on 1-3 May next year subject to approval from the UCI.
Also backed by Welcome to Yorkshire and British Cycling, the new race will have 2.1 status, which should guarantee a high-class field. Speaking to packed crowds at the Otley Circuit Races that were also attended by Tour boss Christian Prudhomme on Wednesday evening, Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity said the new race will visit parts of the county bypassed by the Tour, mentioning the resort town of Scarborough and Hull as potential stage towns.
"When we bid to host the Tour de France we did so in the knowledge that this would be the start of a long relationship with ASO. So I am delighted to be able to announce this exciting new race for Yorkshire. Our county is a new cycling heartland of Europe and we look forward to welcoming back some of the world's best riders in Yorkshire in less than 12 months' time," said Verity.
Prudhomme was effusive in his praise for the county and its Grand Départ, declaring it the greatest ever. "Yorkshire boasts breathtaking scenery worthy of any of the cycling season's major events. It therefore seems perfectly natural for Welcome to Yorkshire, British Cycling and ASO to continue working together in this new land of cycling, through the Tour of Yorkshire," said Prudhomme.
Full details on the women's race have yet to be finalised, but Verity stressed Welcome to Yorkshire's focus on developing this event alongside the men's race during ASO's initial four-year commitment.
Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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