Last Friday’s announcement that the Women’s Tour – one of the biggest races on the women’s international calendar – has been cancelled for 2023 capped off a miserable few months for British bike racing. In this road.cc Podcast episode, Ryan catches up with the PR Director for the race's organiser about why they had to pull the pin, just what goes into organising a bike race and why there's still plenty to be positive about for the future.
Just why can't one of the most popular races on the women's international cycling calendar get enough support to go ahead? Peter Hodges of SweetSpot explains all, going over the various factors that meant they were left with no option but to cancel for 2023.
“There are many different reasons why we had to cancel,” Hodges tell us, listing a range of factors including the current economic climate, increased costs, a lack of interest from sponsors, tactical errors on the part of the organisers, as well as the dreaded B word – Brexit.
“But the main thing is the horrendous inflationary and cost of living increases, which we’re paying on wages, accommodation, and logistics. So if you ask the question, ‘what’s the reason?’ It’s the current economic crisis.”
Hodges also told us about the often-overlooked ins and outs of what it takes to actually run a major week-long stage race like the Women’s Tour, its continued importance to the growth of women’s cycling, and why we should be viewing the future of British cycling – a picture of doom and gloom in recent months – with positivity.
“There is a lot of negativity around the domestic scene at the moment. But at the same time, there are loads of fantastic things going on at grassroots,” he says.
“Rather than dwelling on the negatives, let’s talk about all the positive and good things – and I’m sounding very evangelical – and that will hopefully create more growth. The bigger the cake is, the bigger the slice is for everyone.”
We’ve got something a bit different for part two, our first on-bike podcast recording! Dave tries to keep up with Chris Parr, a recycling artist and BBC Environmental Award winner who is currently riding 2,000 miles across Great Britain to raise funds for the mental health charity MIND.
Hear Chris’s great story and get inspired to head out over the bank holiday and check out his fundraising page here.
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