Organisers of the Tour of Britain (2.HC) and Women's Tour (Women's WorldTour) have confirmed to Cyclingnews that the two events will continue in 2020. SweetSpot announced earlier this week that OVO Energy will end sponsorship of the two events.
"Currently OVO Energy won’t be staying on with the race in any capacity, although it's important to stress that we maintain an excellent relationship with them, so by no means would we rule out them being involved again in some way in the future," said Peter Hodges, PR & Marketing Director of SweetSpot Group.
SweetSpot is searching for new title sponsors but told Cyclingnews that its three events – the Tour of Britain, the Women's Tour and the Tour Series – are not dependent on new partnerships in order to continue as planned for next year.
"There is no threat to the three events not going ahead for next year, with both the men’s Tour of Britain and Women’s Tour confirmed on the UCI calendar for September and June, respectively," Hodges said.
The current version of the Tour of Britain began in 2004 and then became a 2.HC-sanctioned event in 2014, through this year. The Women’s Tour debuted in 2014 as a 2.1 event but quickly rose to the top-level of professional bike racing when it joined the Women’s WorldTour in 2016.
OVO Energy had taken over title sponsorship of both events in 2017. It brought parity to the Tour of Britain and Women’s Tour prize fund, whereby this year the fields competed for €97,880.
Hodges said the funding for the events is in place for next year but a title sponsor would allow organisers to expand each of the three events.
"SweetSpot have built the events in a sustainable model based around the local authority funding we receive from the areas that the races visit, and the established portfolio of commercial partners and suppliers to the events," Hodges said.
"Clearly a title sponsor allows us to do more with each event, making them bigger and better for everyone involved. Crucially, a title sponsor allows us to continue to grow and expand both events, which is our stated desire for both the men’s and women’s Tours, whether that be improving the infrastructure, additional support activities and events, or improving things like the fan experience, whether that be at the roadside or at home."
While SweetSpot are looking to replace OVO Energy with a new title brand, Hodges said there is no deadline to find such a partnership, although they would like to secure funding by the spring of 2020.
"There isn’t really a set deadline for a title sponsor to be found, and it is something that we are already working on with brands and agencies," Hodges said. "Clearly we would like one to be in place by the spring at the latest, in particular so that the new title partner can benefit from the exposure and build up to the Women’s Tour in June, so we realise that the next few months are crucial to this."
Next year, the Women’s Tour is scheduled to take place from June 8-13, while the 2.Pro men’s race is expected to take place from September 6-13.