TOUR DE France director Christian Prudhomme says it is a case of ‘when, not if’ the greatest cycling spectacle in the world returns to Yorkshire.
The White Rose county staged what Prudhomme regularly describes as the ‘grandest Grand Depart of all time’ in 2014 when an estimated five million people lined the route of the first two days of that year’s Tour de France.
Sir Gary Verity, the mastermind behind the boom in cycling in Yorkshire, has lobbied ever since for the biggest free-to-all sporting event in the world to come back to the Broad Acres.
And at the announcement of the route for next year’s Tour de Yorkshire at the Impressions Gallery in Bradford yesterday, Prudhomme gave the broadest hint yet that a White Rose return is on the cards.
“We will be back. I don’t know when, but the question is not if, it is when”, said Prudhomme.
“I don’t know if it will be three years, five years, 10 years. I hope it won’t be 15 years because it will be too late for me.
“The passion for cycling, the huge crowds everywhere, the smiles on people’s faces - that is so important to us. There’s the outstanding scenery and the stunning backdrop of Yorkshire.
“It is only two years since the Grand Depart, but with the Tour de Yorkshire you can see the journey Yorkshire has been on.”
The county has already secured rights to host the 2019 UCI Road World Championships, an eight-day festival of cycling that encompasses 12 races.
The logistics of putting on such an event means it is unlikely the county and affiliated governing bodies can host the Tour de France anytime before then.
That means the earliest it could come back to Yorkshire is 2020.