Cycling World Road Championships route rethink after storms wash out Yorkshire Dales bridge

The peloton riding over a bridge at Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, during the 2014 Tour de France. Heavy rain in the area has damaged the bridge. PIC: Tim Goode/PA Wire
The peloton riding over a bridge at Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, during the 2014 Tour de France. Heavy rain in the area has damaged the bridge. PIC: Tim Goode/PA Wire
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Organisers of the Road World Championships in Yorkshire seem certain to be forced to change the route of the men’s elite road race after a bridge on Grinton Moor was washed away by floodwaters.

Pictures released by the Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team show that Grinton Moor Bridge has collapsed, leaving the road completely impassable.

Organisers of the world championships are due to visit the site today to assess the damage but, with less than two months until the race on September 29, it seems unlikely to be repaired in time. In a statement, Yorkshire 2019 chief executive Andy Hindley said the first priority had to be for local residents cut off by the bridge collapse.

“At the current time, our thoughts are with those affected by the flooding,” the statement said. “We will address any damage to race routes with North Yorkshire County Council in due course.”

Grinton Moor was the scene of some of the most famous images from the Grand Depart of the Tour de France five years ago, and the route of the elite men’s road race was designed to echo the opening stage. From Leeds, the route takes in the Buttertubs climb near Hawes and Grinton Moor before looping back south to the finishing circuit in Harrogate.

The elite men’s road race is the final event of the week-long world championships, which will run from September 22-29.