Yorkshire has received a huge boost today with the news that the Tour de Yorkshire will grow from three to four days in 2018.
Organisers Welcome to Yorkshire and A.S.O had been seeking to extend the race after its phenomenal success over the last three years, and cycling’s world governing body the UCI confirmed the decision on Thursday with the four-day Tour de Yorkshire being included on their 2018 Europe Tour calendar between Thursday 3 and Sunday 6 May.
And if that wasn’t enough, the Asda Women’s Tour de Yorkshire will also double in size next year, increasing from one to two days on Thursday 3 and Friday 4 May.
The news will bring far-reaching benefits to the county and further enhance Yorkshire’s reputation as a world-class cycling destination. The Tour de Yorkshire was launched in 2015 following the hugely successful Tour de France Grand Départ 12 months previously, and it has since grown to become one of the sport’s best-supported and most exciting races.
This year’s event was broadcast live in 180 countries and a record 2.2 million fans lined the route. The race also generated £64 million for the Yorkshire economy and the Asda Women’s Tour de Yorkshire remains one of the most lucrative events in the sport.
Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive Sir Gary Verity said: “This is absolutely tremendous news and something we have long been working to achieve. We are grateful to British Cycling for supporting our application, and to the UCI for granting us this extension.
“Seeing the Tour de Yorkshire grow into what it is today is one of my team’s very proudest achievements and none of this would have been possible if the people of Yorkshire - and Great Britain - hadn’t taken the race to their hearts.
“This decision will help us attract even bigger names in the future and allow us to design a more varied and spectacular route.
“Our race is growing in stature all the time and the next two editions will hold even greater prestige given that Yorkshire is also hosting the UCI Road World Championships in 2019.
“Cycling is booming across the county and today marks an exciting new chapter for our race.”
Tour de France Director Christian Prudhomme said: “The Tour de Yorkshire is a true success story and the way the race has grown over the last four years has been incredible.
“The size and passion of the crowds has not just impressed me, but the cyclists too. They are always blown away by the reception they receive and are already looking forward to coming back in 2018.
“Extending the race to four days will allow us to visit more parts of the county and put on an even greater show.”
British Cycling Chief Executive Julie Harrington said: "We welcome the decision by the UCI to endorse the increase in duration of both the men's and women's races at the Tour de Yorkshire as a sign of the fantastic work done by Welcome to Yorkshire in collaboration with British Cycling in building an event which inspires people across Britain to get active by getting on their bikes.
“We look forward to working with the Tour de Yorkshire team to finalise arrangements."
The decision to grow the Tour de Yorkshire from three to four days means there will be eight start and finish destinations for the 2018 race, and these are set to be announced on Thursday 28 September. The full route will then be unveiled at a high-profile press conference on Tuesday 5 December.