ASO confirms it may bid to run Tour of Britain
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Saturday, March 23, 2013

ASO confirms it may bid to run Tour of Britain

by VeloNation Press at 8:56 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Britain
“If we can make it into something even more compelling for TV and spectators then we'd go for it”

Tour of BritainThree and a half months after British Cycling put the organisation of the Tour of Britain out to tender, Tour de France owner ASO has confirmed that it is potentially interested in taking over the running of the race.

The race has been organised by the SweetSpot company for the past nine editions, but British Cycling is prepared to hand it over to another organisation to run if it feels it will benefit the race.

ASO’s president Jean-Etienne Amaury told the BBC that there was potential interest from the French company. “It's something we're looking into right now but I can't say too much about it,” he stated this week at Welcome to Yorkshire's annual tourism conference in Leeds.

The city will host the start of next year’s Tour.

“If we can make it into something even more compelling for TV and spectators then we'd go for it,” he said.

On December 7th British Cycling president Brian Cookson said that decisions had to be made about the future of the race. “Against the backdrop of our continued success over recent years and the amazing success this summer with our first Tour de France winner and 16 gold medals at London 2012, it’s important that we take a fresh look at how the Tour of Britain can deliver continued growth and profile for the sport,” he explained.

“SweetSpot has nurtured and developed the event over recent years but the time is now right to assess all options. Most crucially, we want to assure our current and future members and all cycling fans that we will have their interests at heart throughout this process and we look forward to further developing an event that reflects the current status of our sport in this country.”

SweetSpot is will remain in place as the organiser this year, and on Thursday unveiled what is being seen as the toughest route since the race was reintroduced in 2004. This September’s race will feature a summit finish for the very first time, at the top of Haytor in Dartmoor, Devon, as well as the longest ever time trial.

“This will definitely be the most challenging Tour of Britain yet,” race director Mick Bennett promised.

SweetSpot expressed frustration when the race was put out to tender, and said that it would lodge its own bid in order to “retain the right to organise and promote Britain’s biggest professional road race from 2014 onwards, especially given the continued growth and unparalleled success of the event under their ten-year stewardship.”

It said then that it had grown the event and raised its profile despite one of the worst recessions in living memory, and also done a huge amount of work was done to make the race what it is.

“The team at SweetSpot have created unrivalled relationships with stakeholders around the country, including the police, highway authorities and the regions, counties, cities and towns into which The Tour of Britain has been invited.

“Not only have new sponsors been introduced to the sport in Britain, but media coverage in all forms has been stimulated, including live daily television coverage on a UK and global platform.”

However with ASO organising the Tour de France and other major events, British Cycling is will carefully study any bid from the French company. Amaury told the BBC that ASO had worked hard on events outside France and helped to develop the sport in those territories too.

“In recent years we have helped the Tour of California, the Tour of Beijing and races in the Middle East, so we've been fostering the globalisation of cycling.”

Giro d’Italia organiser RCS Sport is also thought to have an interest in bidding to organise the race. The 2014 Giro will begin in Belfast and have three stages in northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Also see: Tour of Britain presents toughest course yet for 2013


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