Cycling's Tour de Yorkshire to visit Leeds again in 2020
Leeds will extend its ever-present record when the Tour de Yorkshire goes up a level next year.
The 2020 race, from Thursday, April 30 to Sunday, May 3, will be part of the inaugural UCI ProSeries, only one step down from the elite World Tour.
Joint-organisers Welcome to Yorkshire have confirmed Leeds will be among the eight towns and cities to host either the start or finish of a stage at next year’s edition.
All five previous Tours de Yorkshire have visited Leeds.
The first, in 2015, finished in Roundhay Park and the men’s winner was crowned on the Headrow in 2018 and earlier this year.
Leeds also hosted the Tour de France’s Grand Depart five years ago and the start of the elite men’s race at the UCI Road World Championships in September.
New start or finish locations next year will be Huddersfield, Leyburn, Redcar - which will the the most northerly point visited by the event - and Skipton.
The other hosts are Barnsley, Beverley and Halifax.
Full details of the 2020 route - including the ASDA Women’s Tour de Yorkshire - will be announced at a launch event in Leeds on Friday, January 17.
Representatives from Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O), who organise the event alongside Welcome to Yorkshire, are in the county to scout the proposed course.
The 2020 race was confirmed at the end of a difficult year for Welcome to Yorkshire, marred by the departure of chief executive Gary Verity and financial problems.
But Cedric Coutouly, of ASO, was at yesterday’s host towns announcement and insisted the race will continue to grown.
Coutouly, a former Tour de France rider, said: “The Tour de Yorkshire next year has a new classification, on the ProSeries, so it is just behind the World Tour races.
“Last year we had Chris Froome at the start and also Greg van Avermaet so we had the best rider for the day races and best rider of the Grand Tours - what more can we have?”
An estimated 1.9 spectators viewed last year’s men’s and women’s races at roadside, with another 28 million watching on television.
“We have worked together [with Welcome to Yorkshire] since the big start of the Tour de France in 2014,” Coutouly added.
“It was an amazing start and the year afterwards we organised for the first time the Tour de Yorkshire.
“The spirit of Yorkshire - with all the people, lots of fans and all the community of Yorkshire - makes it an amazing event for ASO and for Welcome to Yorkshire.”
Black Sheep Brewery, in Masham, will continue among the event’s sponsors in 2020 and the company’s sales and marketing director Jo Theakston insisted: “The Tour de Yorkshire is something we are committed to.”
He said: “This will be our third year we have been involved as a sponsor and it has been fantastic, a really great experience.
“Just as a way of getting out there and communicating and being part of the whole Yorkshire conversation, it has been brilliant.
“At Black Sheeo we are part of Yorkshire, so it is perfect for us.”