Tour De Yorkshire 2022 Abandoned as Pressures of Coronavirus Pandemic and Financial Worries Weigh Heavy on Organisers
It was announced yesterday evening that the Tour de Yorkshire would not be returning in 2022, making it the third consecutive year that the event has been cancelled.
The event was first staged in 2015 after Yorkshire hosted the Tour de France’s Grand Depart, and had been held annually until 2020 where the coronavirus pandemic forced the event to be abandoned. It also faced a similar fate this year, but fresh concerns over the funding of the race have only added to public health concerns, forcing a mutual agreement against hosting the event between race organisers Welcome to Yorkshire and the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO).
The two-day women’s race and four-day men’s race was due to be hosted in April and May of next year, but following several months of discussion, the organisers released this joint statement; “For 7 years now our teams have been working towards the realisation of the event, which after 5 editions has become a real marker in cycling’s spring season.”
After 2 back-to-back cancellations due to the Covid-19 pandemic hitting in early 2020, and considering economic factors, some of which result from it, it has been decided by mutual agreement that the Tour de Yorkshire will not be organised in 2022.”
It has since been revealed that various local councils along the route were asked to pay an additional £100,000 each to offset any potential sponsorship problems, with the ASO not willing to carry the weight of a potential loss of investment from the event.
While it has previously been lauded as a hugely successful spectacle, even drawing in 2.6million roadside spectators in 2018, the feeling is that the event may never return.
Sandra Corcoran, of Pennines Bicycles in Bradford said it helped bring a “feel-good factor” to the local area.
However, with escalating costs due to safeguarding public health, as well as concerns over commercial sponsorship, she was not convinced the race would return; “I doubt it, once it’s gone,” she said.
The organisers had continued to discuss the possibility of hosting the Tour de Yorkshire once the viability of coronavirus restrictions had allowed them to do so, although concerns over rising cases across the North of England, coupled with new-found financial restrictions forced the organisers’ hand in cancelling the event.
Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive James Mason said,“This has been an intense period of back and forth discussions about the 2022 Tour de Yorkshire over many months.
“The race is a much-loved international sports event which showcases Yorkshire across the globe. So many people involved in the decision making process understand just how popular the race is.
“We had every intention for the race to go ahead but unfortunately some of the circumstances were out of our control and sometimes you have to make big calls for the right reasons. People from Yorkshire are proud and we only want the best for the county. We still have ambitions for large events going forward to put Yorkshire on the world stage and we will continue to work with our partners to plan for those.”
While some are of the belief the event may never return, Mr Mason is hopeful that we could see the race return to Yorkshire in the future, with is appetite failing to diminish.
“What I will do with my team is look at what we can do, look at a future for the race, I am not giving up on this.
The conversations will start with all the stakeholders about when the race can come back.” He added: “Never, say never, I would like to hope it would be coming back one day.”
Last week, the Yorkshire Post revealed North Yorkshire, Barnsley, Richmondshire, East Riding, Redcar & Cleveland and Craven councils all agreed to potentially provide an extra £100,000 each towards the staging of the race, but no such decision was made by Leeds, Calderdale and Kirklees. This failure in agreement to safeguard the costs of the event should not enough sponsorship money be raised may have been a contributing factor to the ASO and Welcome to Yorkshire’s decision to abandon next year’s race.