Tour de France organisers to launch permanent Yorkshire stage race

ASO in talks to hold three-day stage race from 2015 onwards

The organisers of the Tour de France are planning to establish a three-day stage race in Yorkshire from 2015 onwards.

According to The Guardian, the ASO is planning to organise a three-day stage race that would outrank the Tour of Britain on the international calendar in the Northern county.

ASO has already held preliminary discussions with British Cycling and Welcome2Yorkshire, the latter whom successfully piloted a bid to bring the 2014 Tour to the UK later this year.

Tour organiser Christian Prudhomme said: "We want to do something. We want something to remain after the grand départ has happened."

The event would likely be held in May, and hopes to be a 2.HC level race - a second tier ranked stage race. It means the race would attract some of the biggest teams on the circuit.

Last September the UCI refused a bid from Tour of Britain organisers to upgrade the eight-day tour to a 2.HC level race; it remains 2.1 for 2014.

Prudhomme said the success of British cyclists in the world’s most famous bike race – the Tour de France - meant the ASO accelerated plans to organise a regular race in Britain.

Prudhomme said: "In London in 2007 we said we would come back to England, for certain, but we thought it would be London. In my head it was going to happen 10 years later, and that was the direction we were moving when we had the bid from Yorkshire – what changed the game was the exceptional success of British cyclists on the road."

Welcome2Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity said: “A mid-May date is probable for the Yorkshire event.

“We will look to spread the event around Yorkshire so that places that haven't received the Tour this year will get the benefit.”

The UK has rapidly become a international destination for pro races since Bradley Wiggins’ won the Tour in 2012. The Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic was launched last year and will be held for four more years; the Giro d’Italia starts in Belfast later this year and the Tour of Britain reported booming spectator numbers for its tenth event in September 2013.

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