South Yorkshire part of county bid to stage world cycling champions
Yorkshire is bidding to boost its burgeoning profile on the international cycling stage by applying to host the 2019 UCI Road World Championships.
The UK Government has guaranteed to both back the event with £24million of investment and to underwrite the full cost of the bid, which was compiled in partnership with British Cycling and UK Sport before being presented to UCI president Brian Cookson by Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity.
The proposed race programme will include starts in North, South, East and WestYorkshire.
All four ridings have embraced the Tour de Yorkshire - the third iteration of the popular sportive takes place next year - while the 2014 Tour de France departed from Leeds and reached Sheffield on its second day.
Verity, who believes "cycling is in Yorkshire's DNA", feels the four-ridings area has the infrastructure and passion to make a success of the event.
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He said: "It would be an absolute honour to host the 2019 UCI Road World Championships.
"Yorkshire has everything a bike race could wish for. We can promise a gruelling but spectacular range of routes, huge crowds and the very warmest of welcomes. We are sure the world's best riders will find our beautiful roads both challenging and exhilarating in equal measure.
"The Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014 cemented the county's place as a world-class cycling destination and since then I have been proud to oversee the launch and growth of the Tour de Yorkshire - a race which is now regarded as one of the most dramatic and well-supported events in the sport.
"Make no mistake, cycling is in Yorkshire's DNA and hosting the 2019 UCI Road World Championships will only reaffirm that.
"Yorkshire is ready to embrace the Championships. We've turned the county yellow once before, and now we want to see it swathed with those coveted rainbow bands."
The Championships span eight days and include individual and team time trials as well as full road races for Under-18, Under-23 and elite male and female riders. October will see the event take place in Doha, Qatar, while Bergen, Norway and Innsbruck, Austria are scheduled to host in 2017 and 2018.
There are numerous logistical challenges to hosting a Road World Championships, however.
The competition involves lengthy road closures, so a more rural location might be suitable, but accommodation for riders, team staff and supporters must be present as well.
The world governing body also holds its congress at the Championships, so a suitable venue for that would also be needed.
And, before deciding whether or not to bid, British Cycling would wish to assess the long-term benefits of hosting the Championships, which would use up significant resources and eat into UK Sport's major event fund.