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"It will be the same UCI ranking as the Critérium International, and with ASO involved the quality of the riders and teams will be of the highest standard," chief executive Verity tells The Guardian

Photo: Sirotti


10.01.2014 @ 13:13 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

In an attempt to build on the 2014 Tour de France start in Yorkshire, ASO and the local organizers have teamed up to create a new three-day race in the British county. The race will be held for the first time in 2015 and is expected to consist of four stages.


Late last year, local organizers of the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart in Yorkshire, Welcome2Yorkshire, stated that they didn't want the event to be a stand-alone. In fact, the ambitious Brits stated that the event should kick start a development that should turn the British county into the new European cycling hotbed, taking over that position from Belgium.


The means to reach that target is a new stage race that will take place for the first time in 2015. Having teamed up with Tour de France organizers ASO, Welcome2Yorkshire are progressing with their plans and the planning is already fairly advanced.


Originally, the plan was to move the Criterium International to Yorkshire but its March date made it unsuitable to the harsh British weather conditions. Instead, the parties have agreed to create a new race which will have a similar format.


While the Criterium International is held over three stages and two days, the new race whose name had not yet been determined, will have an additional stage and an additional day. They first day will consist of both a road stage and a time trial.


The race will be held in mid-May and is set to visit several different parts of the county.


"We will look to spread the event around Yorkshire so that places that haven't received the Tour this year will get the benefit," said chief executive Gary Verity to the Guardian. "It will be the same UCI ranking as the Critérium International, and with ASO involved the quality of the riders and teams will be of the highest standard."


Cycling has been growing immensely in England in recent years, with Bradley Wiggins' win in the 2012 Tour de France prompting a massive increase in interest. Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme said that the growing interest was the main reason for the decision to host the Grand Depart in Yorkshire and not in Florence which had also made a bid.


“Between March and August 2012, we said we would have to come to England as soon as possible after a British rider won the Tour. That's why we went for Yorkshire over Florence,” said Prudhomme. “For Yorkshire to win ahead of Florence is no small thing. Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, a really exceptional place, and the Tour has never started from Italy. I could cite other cities but those were the two finalists – the success of the British cyclists tipped the balance."


This isn't the first time that a Grand Depart has spurred on the creation of a new race. After the 2010 start in Rotterdam, ASO decided to organize the two-day World Ports Classic which has been held in the autumn but will now move to a spring date in 2014.


The Tour de France starts on July 5 with three road stages in England.



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