Is Harrogate set to host one of world cycling's most prestigious races...again?

Marcel Kittell wins the first stage of the 2014 Tour de France in Harrogate from Peter Sagan after Mark Cavendish crashed at the bottom of Parliament Street. 5 July 2014. Picture Bruce Rollinson
Marcel Kittell wins the first stage of the 2014 Tour de France in Harrogate from Peter Sagan after Mark Cavendish crashed at the bottom of Parliament Street. 5 July 2014. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Harrogate has confirmed its bid to host one of the most prestigious world cycling championships in 2019.

The council confirmed this morning, September 13, that it had submitted a bid become a host town for the UCI Road World Championships in 2019.

In August, Welcome to Yorkshire (WtY) announced it would be bidding to host the eight-day event with the Government underwriting the full cost of it.

The outcome of the bid will be revealed following the UCI’s annual congress in Doha in October.

The UCI Road World Championships is one of the most prestigious events on the professional cycling calendar for elite male and female cyclists.

If successful, the championships would mark another high-profile cycling to be held in Harrogate following the success of the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014.

Leader of Harrogate Borough Council (HBC), Coun Richard Cooper said: "We demonstrated in our hosting of the 2014 Tour de France that we have the capacity and ambition to deliver events on this scale.

"The Road World Championships is, after the Tour de France, one of the largest annual events in road cycling.

"It could bring a boost to the district economy comparable with the £19 million secured from the Tour de France and provide an on-going benefit to the visitor economy through bringing Harrogate to a global audience."

Coun Cooper explained that Harrogate's participation was still subject to formal agreement by council members but said the bid had cross-party support.

HBC's Liberal Democrat Group leader, Coun Part Marsh said: "The Road World Championships is the ideal opportunity to build on the legacy of the Tour de France, which had a significant positive impact on cycling and tourism in the district.

“We live in a beautiful part of the world and this is the perfect opportunity to promote ourselves once again on the international stage."

The UCI Road World Championships attracts up to 1,000 athletes from over 80 nations and broadcasts live to a global audience of more than 300 million people.

The event, which was held in Richmond (USA) in 2015, takes place in Doha (Qatar) in October 2016 and is being hosted in Bergen (Norway) in 2017 and Innsbruck (Austria) in 2018.

Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed the government would back WtY's application with £24m worth of investment to drive tourism to the region and build a cycling legacy.

Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive Sir Gary Verity said: “We are very grateful to our friends at Harrogate Borough Council for supporting us in our bid to bring the 2019 UCI Road World Championships to Yorkshire.

“Harrogate excelled in every way when the Tour de France Grand Départ came to the county in 2014 and we have no doubt about the credentials Harrogate possesses.”

Coun Cooper said, if successful, the council would ensure plans were made to maximise economic benefit across the district whilst keeping disruption to an "absolute minimum".

Both he and Coun Marsh stressed the importance of engagement with the local business community in order to put on "the best possible show".