Yorkshire, which hosted the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in 2014, is aiming to bring the race back within the next five years, and is also hoping to host the opening days of the Vuelta.
Plans to bring cycling’s biggest race back to the region were outlined by Welcome To Yorkshire commercial director Peter Dodd following the end of the Tour de Yorkshire on Sunday.
He told Telegraph Sport: “It's ongoing conversations. Firstly, to bring the Vuelta here and then, we say this publicly, our belief is it's a question of when the Tour de France comes back to Yorkshire and not if.”
Dodd revealed that Charles Ojalvo, director of partnerships and public relations at Unipublic, which organises the Vuelta and is owned by Tour de France owners ASO, visited last week’s race and was “amazed by the crowds and the [sponsor] activation.
“It's too early to put a date on it but I would think in the next five years,” he continued. “That's both of them. Our ambition would be to host the Vuelta and then the Tour de France shortly after. The next five or six years.”
On the question of whether 2024 might be an appropriate date for the Tour de France to return, given that would be a decade on from the region first hosting the race, he said: “That would be nice. It's not our choice but that is still on our agenda. There is an amazing desire from our partners for the Vuelta to come to Yorkshire and for the Tour de France to come back.”
The race was originally brought to the region thanks to the efforts of former Tour de Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity, who was also led its successful bid for this year’s UCI Road Cycling World Championships but who departed suddenly earlier this year due to an investigation into expenses.
Dodd said that Verity’s departure would not affect the future of the Tour de Yorkshire, which this year saw some thrilling racing in both the men’s and women’s races and attracted 2 million spectators over the four days despite inclement weather.
“We are committed on paper to 2020 or 2021,” he explained. “But we will probably sign a new contract [with ASO] this year which will take us forward into the 2020s.
“As I've travelled around Yorkshire, various chief execs have said to me, 'You do know I'm down for a stage start or a stage finish don't you?' Literally we are oversubscribed. I think we had 16 potential starts and finishes for 2019, and off the top of my head I think we've probably got 14 for next year.”
He added: “We've got some sponsors committed for 2021 and probably one or two will go to 2022. Some sponsors are one year, some are on two- or three-year contracts.
"One or two existing partners who were with us this week were saying they might do more with us and try to activate the sponsorship across the year or a nine-month period, rather than just the race itself.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.