Man who oversaw Harrogate's UCI road closures says event was a triumph

The Elite Womens peloton head up Parliament Street in last Saturdays sunshine.
The Elite Womens peloton head up Parliament Street in last Saturdays sunshine.

The UCI Road World Championships have been hailed a success by the man responsible for managing road closure roll-outs at North Yorkshire County Council.

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Coun Don Mackenzie, the executive member for access, said any disruption caused by the event was “managed well,” and that every day services were maintained in our district as far as possible - but he acknowledged that some businesses and householders were affected more than others.

He said: “Despite the extreme weather at times, and necessary decisions taken to re-route the race on the last day, all the agencies involved pulled together to manage the event well and to maintain everyday services locally as far as possible.

“There was unavoidable disruption to routine travel for residents, some businesses and householders were affected more than others, and the road closures, particularly in Harrogate, were undoubtedly a great inconvenience at times.

“But all road closures were widely publicised in advance. Whist there were relatively minor changes to timings – not unexpected with very long races and changeable weather - on the whole, the event progressed as expected. Public transport operators were also very supportive in their efforts to provide additional bus and rail services, which helped to minimise disruption to travel.

Mr Mackenzie said any disruption and inconvenience has been much outweighed by the benefits that global TV exposure and publicity for our district will generate in the long-term.
He said: “The event has clearly provided an immediate economic boost for some businesses in Harrogate and in other locations.

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“The fact Harrogate and North Yorkshire have drawn in visitors from around the globe and enjoyed wide TV coverage will have long-term benefits, just as the Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire have shown.

“It is expected that visitors to the World Championships will return to the area in future years. North Yorkshire has developed a wide reputation as a focus for cycling and this is likely to continue to boost our visitor economy.

“Many races were shown live on BBC2, and there were frequent positive references by commentators to Harrogate and North Yorkshire.

“Global TV coverage by one of the world’s most respected broadcasters represented a remarkable opportunity to market the attractions of our county to a worldwide audience.”

Don Mackenzie said he believes that North Yorkshire County Council will continue to support future bids by the county’s districts and towns to welcome cycling events.

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He said: “What should also not be ignored is the inspiration provided by the athleticism and dedication of world-class cyclists and para-cyclists up close on our own streets. We want the championships to leave behind a legacy.”