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Harrogate event will be 'bigger than Tour de France'

Sir Gary Verity with top cyclist Mark Cavendish - Key players when Harrogate welcomed the Tour de France in 2014.
Sir Gary Verity with top cyclist Mark Cavendish - Key players when Harrogate welcomed the Tour de France in 2014.

For anyone surprised by what a brilliant two days it was when the Tour de France came to town in 2014, the key thing to know about the UCI Road World Championships is that they are just as big - but they last a whole lot longer.

The scale of the coup for Harrogate and for other parts of the district sure to feature such as Ripon is that this will be the first time that Britain has hosted cycling’s premier international event since 1982.


For nine whole days the races will begin in Northallerton, Leeds, York, Bradford, Doncaster, Beverley and Ripon.
And for nine whole days Harrogate will be the focal point for the championships, with every race decided when the winner crosses the finish line in the very heart of the town.

Huge deal for Harrogate district
Even Harrogate Borough Council, which will play a major part in the preparations, seems a little in awe of the prospect of welcoming the world’s best road cyclists, not to forget much of the world’s press.
But it’s a challenge they seem determined and excited to meet.
Coun Stanley Lumley, Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for sport, said:“This is a really big deal for our district. It’s a truly international event where the eyes of the world will be upon us.
“The organisers are liaising with local businesses and are expecting many thousands of spectators and nearly 2,500 support teams and journalists.”

When does event happen
Running from September 22-29, 2019, the council is just one of several local authority partners working on the project, including North Yorkshire County Council, East Riding Council, Doncaster Council, Leeds City Council, Hambleton District Council and City of York Council.

Sir Gary Verity
Unsurprisingly, Sir Gary Verity, the man with the midas touch who almost single-handedly built Yorkshire’s recent reputation as the cycling capital of Britain, is right behind next year’s feast of top cycling coming to the Harrogate district and beyond.
The popular chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “This is an unprecedented opportunity to showcase Yorkshire to the world and I have no doubt that every town and village on the final routes will be ready with their famous Yorkshire welcome as seen for the Tour de France and now each year for the Tour de Yorkshire.”

Hosts are usually some of world's most famous towns
The world championship road race and two of the three Grand Tours - the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France - form the Triple Crown of Cycling.
Normally, they are held in a different town or city each year with a long pedigree in major sports.
This year’s world championships are being held in Innsbruck in Austria.
Other locations have included Bergen in Norway, Florence in Italy and Barcelona in Spain.

Cost of hosting the event
Such a major event does not come cheap but the burden is being shared at a national level.

The Government has committed to invest £24 million into the event, £15 million of which will be used to develop 27 cycle sport facilities across the UK intended to create a lasting grassroots legacy.
In addition, there will be £3 million of National Lottery funding from UK Sport.


Whether anyone likes cycling or not, whether it’s a price worth paying or not, may be a moot point.
But one thing is clear. It will be huge deal for the Harrogate district and everyone is determined to make the most of it.


Coun Stanley Lumley, said: “The benefits to the local economy will be significant and the boost to our international reputation as a tourist venue will be sustained many months and years after the event.”

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