A British bid for the 2019 UCI World Championships has gathered further pace with Tour de Yorkshire organiser, Gary Verity, telling Cyclingnews that a bid must be finalised and submitted by the end of this year.
Verity, who successfully brought the Tour de France to Yorkshire in 2014, has been in discussions to land the 2019 Worlds for over a year, having initially held talks with the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne. A £200,000 grant was made for Verity to research whether Yorkshire could host the week-long event, and the race organiser believes that after the success of the 2014 Tour, a Worlds would have a similar if not even better response from the British crowds.
Any bid to the, however, must be submitted by the national federation, in this case, British Cycling.
"The time scale is pretty tight," Verity told Cyclingnews. "It all needs to be sorted out this year. If it's going to happen, it needs to happy quickly."
While Verity's focus is on growing cycling in Yorkshire, he added that a Worlds bid could, and should, be about more than one region in the UK. Perhaps to appease British Cycling's needs ahead of a possible bid to the UCI, he stressed that a week-long World Championships needed to be spread across several regions, pointing to Manchester - where British Cycling is based - as a possible partner.
"If the Worlds were to come here in 2019, clearly it should embrace wider parts of north England and not just Yorkshire. We're already starting to do that with the Tour de Yorkshire to a lesser degree with a stage start in Middlesbrough. But for the Worlds you could easily include not just Leeds, so you could include Manchester, which would play into the government’s agenda of having a northern powerhouse, but I think that it's inconceivable that if the Worlds came here in 2019, that Yorkshire wasn't a major part of it.
"This came out of a discussion that I had with George Osbourne about a year ago. He asked why don't you host the Worlds? They gave us a couple of hundred thousand pounds to look into the feasibility and then they could get behind a possible bid for 2019."
Last week the BBC reported that British Cycling was looking for £50 million from the British government in a bid to host the Worlds but also invest in a number of other projects.
"British Cycling hope for 50 million to host it because they wanted to build a load of other cycling tracks around the country, and that was their starting-point because they wanted to have some sort of legacy," Verity added.
"I was coming at it from a slightly different angle, and if we are going to be the world capital of cycling, as in the UK, then there are some definite things that would define that. You'd have a Grand Tour start every five years, with the Tour, Giro or Vuelta. You could make a list of things if we were the supreme people in cycling; we'd host the Worlds every 15 years, including the participation from the public, access to cycling groups, the whole gambit. This is part of that suite of things."
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Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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