Harrogate says 'no' to Tour de Yorkshire coming in 2020

Harrogate does not want to be included in next year’s Tour de Yorkshire and its council has told organisers the town needs a 'rest' from big events.

By Graham Chalmers
Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 5:12 pm
The Tour de Yorkshire peloton racing round the streets of Harrogate earlier this year.
The Tour de Yorkshire peloton racing round the streets of Harrogate earlier this year.

The town has played a key role in Yorkshire’s remarkable transformation into a major centre for international cycling, ever since the Tour de France’s Grand Depart was hosted in 2014.

But this time around there has been a polite but firm ‘no thanks’ to the idea of Harrogate featuring at all in next year’s TdY.

Coun Richard Cooper, Harrogate Borough Council leader confirmed to the Harrogate Advertiser the council had informed the event’s organisers “it didn’t want Harrogate to be included or considered for TdY 2020.”

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He said: “The council was asked some time ago by Welcome to Yorkshire about whether it would be interested in hosting any elements of the Tour de Yorkshire in 2020. We declined the offer.

“I think people want a rest from big events for a while and that is what I want to give them.”

But Harrogate Borough Council is keen not to give up on the idea of Harrogate hosting more major events in the future. It says it intends to draw up a new strategy after consulting the town.

The only question is which type of events?

Coun Cooper said: “The council is working with stakeholders to draw up a new events strategy.

“When it is complete we will consult with residents, businesses and community groups so we can all reach agreement on what kind of events the town wishes to host, the impact those events will have on our daily lives and the benefits they will bring to local businesses.”

The council’s reluctance to continue the town’s romance with cycling represents a major change of direction.

It follows an outpouring of concern over the damaging impact on the Stray at West Park after hosting the Fan Zone for the UCI Road World Championships during a wet September.

Visitor numbers at the ‘world cup’ of cycling were also judged to be disappointing.

Organisers Welcome to Yorkshire will announce the official routes and host towns for the TdY 2020 tomorrow, Friday, November 15.