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Harrogate says no to Tour de Yorkshire to give town 'rest' from cycling

Joe Robinson
14 Nov 2019

Council looking at ways to diversify away from cycling after World Championships. Photo: Sean Hardy

Harrogate has decided to take a break from hosting professional cycling events in order to give the town 'a rest' after the UCI World Championships in September.

The town has been a key component in Yorkshire's cycling boom since 2014, hosting stages of the Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire before holding the Worlds this autumn. 

However, the local council confirmed Harrogate would turn down the chance to host a Tour de Yorkshire stage in 2020 with leader of Harrogate Borough Council Richard Cooper confirming the town had turned down offers from race organisers.

'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,' said Cooper. 'I think people want a rest from big events for a while and that is what I want to give them.'

Instead, Harrogate is revisiting its event strategy for the future and how it can diversify as a town away from cycling.

'The council is working with stakeholders to draw up a new events strategy,' Cooper added.

'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.'

In the immediate aftermath of the Yorkshire Worlds, there was an outpouring of criticism from vocal local business owners, wih some claiming the week of cycling was financially negative.

Some shops reported huge loses in profits while one businessman took a meeting to state the town did not want to host cycling events anymore.

However, some local businesses profited greatly from the Worlds, notably Baltzersens coffee shop which posted a 21 per cent rise in sales and the Starling Independent bar and kitchen that logged a record week.

Talking in the latest issue of Cyclist, director of Visit Harrogate Richard Spencer called the event a 'raving success' adding that 'every business that went through the process of maximising and leveraging opportunity did well.'

Welcome to Yorkshire is set to announce the official routes and host town of the 2020 Tour de Yorkshire on Friday 15th November.

Image: Sean Hardy