Coronavirus pandemic puts Tour de Yorkshire in doubt

Officials from Welcome to Yorkshire have confirmed talks are taking place to decide whether the cycling event can go ahead.

The company is negotiating with joint organisers Amaury Sport Organisation, as well as sponsors and local councils.

It is currently scheduled to take place from April 30 to May 3 and had been expected to be watched hundreds of thousands of spectators across the county. Last year’s race was said to have been worth £60m to the local economy.

The spokesperson said: “In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we are currently talking with the joint organisers of the Tour de Yorkshire, ASO, about the race, which is scheduled to take place between April 30 to May 3, 2020.

“It’s also vital that we have conversations with sponsors, our local authority partners, and other stakeholders before ASO and ourselves take a decision on the practicalities of staging the event.

“We are acutely aware of the need to take into account the latest medical and scientific advice, and also make a judgement call about the additional burden on resources that such a large scale event places on our emergency services and local authority colleagues.”

James Mason, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “This is obviously disappointing news for everyone connected with the event, including our own hard-working staff and the team at St. George’s Hall who have put so much time and effort in over the last weeks and months.

“We know that tourism businesses are suffering due to this outbreak but hopefully the measures that the government is not putting in place will see the impact lessen over time.

“We stand ready, willing and able to promote Yorkshire and its wonderful destinations and attractions but we must act responsbily and do our bit to reduce exposure to the virus,” he added.

The Tour de Yorkshire was launched in 2015 following the huge success of Yorkshire hosting the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014.

Its high-profile sponsors include Asda, Leeds Bradford Airport and Sky Betting & Gaming.

The first stage of this year’s men race was due to go from Beverley to Redcar, with the second stage covering Skipton to Redcar. The third stage was to be between Barnsley and Huddersfield, with the fourth going from Halifax to Leeds. The women’s race was due to cover the second and third stages – Skipton to Redcar and Barnsley to Huddersfield.