Monthly Archives: December 2014

VIDEO: Zero tolerance to doping

Tinkoff-Saxo team owner Oleg Tinkov says he has a policy of “zero tolerance to doping” in his cycling team.

Speaking from the Tinkoff-Saxo winter training camp in Gran Canaria, the Russian businessman stated his belief that “there is no organised doping” within the sport.

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Cycling’s cheerleader for change

“The problem with continental Europeans is they are stuck with their old paradigms. They do it because their fathers did it, and their grandfathers did it. They don’t want to change.”

We have been chatting for 15 minutes and I have asked Oleg Tinkov four questions, five if you include the ice-breaker about his journey to Gran Canaria (he came by private jet).

But Tinkov, the “serial entrepreneur” whose career has seen him go from bike racing, to importing electronics, flogging frozen food, brewing beer, issuing credit cards and then back to bike racing – this time as the owner of cycling’s


, Tinkoff-Saxo – is just warming up.

He is also from Siberia – more north Asian than continental European – and his father was a miner. So he is fine with change.

The British, he continued, are capable of change, too, which was good to hear, but continental Europeans won’t budge. That is why cycling’s three “Grand Tours”, the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, are too long for anybody to realistically think about trying to win all three in a calendar year.

Nobody has ever done it, and only nine riders have won two, with Tinkov’s star employee Alberto Contador being the last to do so in 2008.

But none of those nine completed that season’s other three-week epic and only 32 men have even finished all three in a year. Of those, only two claimed a set of top-10 finishes, and the last of those was 57 years ago.

Carlos Sastre is the last man to ride all nine Grand Tour weeks in a season as a contender, and he did it twice, in 2006 and 2010, bagging two fourth-place finishes, two eighth-place finishes, a 20th and a 43rd.

But when he rode just two Grand Tours in 2007, 2008 and 2009, he won one, finished second twice and third once. Less is more, right?

To put it another way, four riders have won five of the last six Grand Tours – Contador, Team Sky leader Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali of Astana and Movistar’s Nairo Quintana. They are not called “The Big Four” for nothing.

If you look at their last two seasons, each has raced, on average, 10,521km, over 67 days. That is, more or less, the total distance and duration of all three Grand Tours.

“OK, I understand that three-week races with just five weeks between them are extremely tough,” Tinkov agreed, in heavily accented but perfectly fluent English.

“But the solution could be shortening the stages, or the whole race, or perhaps just leave the Tour at three weeks.

“It’s up to the authorities to decide, but I don’t see the point of three weeks, to be honest. Why three? I don’t see any trouble in shortening them all to two weeks.

“Of course, it’s just my…noise,” he added, reaching for the right word. “And I can’t do anything about it. But we, as fans, want to see the strongest against the strongest.”

Tinkov is right about that. Cycling fans are desperate for more of what golf, F1 and tennis provide on a regular basis, but he is wrong to say he cannot do anything about it.

British cyclist Christopher Froome and Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador compete during the seventh stage of the 66th edition of the Dauphine Criterium cycling race.

“I like the climbers best, guys like Contador, Nibali and Froome,” says Tinkov, “but their problem is they don’t win many races. They win the most important races, but only once. Sprinters keep winning.”

Three months ago, he put his money where his mouth is by asking Froome if he would consider a

“Grand Tour Challenge” against Contador, Nibali and Quintana.

Froome, according to Tinkov, said “everything has its price”, to which the self-made oligarch replied, “OK, how does 1m euros sound?”

This conversation took place at the Vuelta’s podium presentation, the climax of 2014’s best stage race, a ceremony that saw

Contador on the top step, Froome on the second.

You cannot fault Tinkov’s timing.

Froome, for what it is worth, said he liked the idea, only to later decide to skip the 2015 Giro to focus on the Tour (he will see what he has left in the tank for the Vuelta), matching the choices made by Nibali and Quintana.

Of the A-listers, only Contador, Tinkov’s man, has said

he will be at the Giro and Tour, 

with only Tinkov saying he should also be at the Vuelta.

“That will make it more difficult for Alberto to win the Tour, after he’s hopefully won the Giro, which is unfair,” Tinkov explained regretfully. “So how do we know who is the best?”

For some, the answer to that is purely subjective – the stuff of long arguments about panache and palmares – but others try to apply more objectivity to it, like the International Cycling Union (UCI) and its

WorldTour rankings. 

The governing body’s opinion, however, is given no more credence than anybody else’s: did Joaquim Rodriguez have a better 2012 than Sir Bradley Wiggins, or a bigger 2013 than Froome?

The confusion is both a symptom and a cause of the default position many take: who won the Tour?

But Tinkov did not buy a cycling team to have a debate.

A decent sprinter as a young man, the 47-year-old wants certainty, and a proper contest to find the best could be the push cycling needs to break free from the minority-sport pack.

“It’s a big tragedy for the sport – cycling is so big and yet so small,” said Tinkov, whose first act upon arriving in Gran Canaria was to go out for a ride.

“When you look at the fans and viewers, it’s one of the biggest in the world. But when it comes to money it’s one of the poorest. We need to commercialise the sport better.”

Which brings us to

Velon, the joint venture set up last month

by 11 of the sport’s 17 top-tier teams to…well, we are not quite sure.

And neither is Tinkov, despite being its most enthusiastic cheerleader.

Race leader Vincenzo Nibali chats to Chris Froome at the start of the third stage of the 2014 Tour de France

How often will Nibali (left) and Froome (right) go head to head in 2015? Not often enough for Tinkov

“It’s premature to say too much about this because it’s so new,” he explained, kind of. “But we have supported it from the very beginning and it’s very important.

“It’s already achieved something with the plan to put cameras on bikes and in cars, and I believe very soon it will be a good representative for the teams in talks with the governing body and race organisers.

“I can’t say too much, though; not because I’m hiding anything, but because nothing has really happened yet.”

Again, Tinkov is right, and wrong.

Nothing has changed yet, which is unsurprising given Velon’s youth.

But the fact that two-thirds of the peloton have formed a company, with a

chief executive recruited from football, 

and a remit to fix the teams’ utter dependence on sponsors, is significant. In fact, it is almost war.

Tinkov nailed it when he said there is just not that much money in the sport, and what money there is flows to the race organisers first: ASO, the French family firm which runs the Tour, Vuelta and a dozen other races, and RCS, which owns the Giro and a clutch of Italian races.

Teams come, combine or disappear every year as sponsors enter or leave the sport, but ASO and, to a lesser extent, RCS sail on calmly, confident the stars will always find a team and that team will want to ride in their races.

That is not a business model Tinkov can tolerate for long. He has tried asking ASO nicely to share its revenues (it declined), and he will now support Velon’s attempt to create a new market for bike-camera footage and rider data.

Peter Sagan of Slovakia celebrates his victory in stage seven of the 2014 Tour of California

“I feel that we are a superteam, we have a very special group, and we are very professional,” says Tinkov, who has added three-time Tour de France points jersey winner Peter Sagan to his roster

But most of all he wants every broadcaster’s favourite buzzword, a narrative, and that means a simpler calendar punctuated by races the best cannot skip or coast through.

And he is far from alone in thinking this is a good idea.

Former UCI president Hein Verbruggen once told me he could take or leave the Grand Tours’ middle weeks, and thought the Vuelta needed some serious surgery.

Michele Acquarone, who

used to run the Giro for RCS,

went even further recently, bemoaning cycling’s financial weakness, its need for a “season with a start and a finish, with winners and losers” rather than “just a meaningless jumble of events”.

“I’m not surprised cycling is a niche sport, it’s a miracle it’s still alive,” he wrote, calling for fewer races, but races that matter, races the best riders cannot and do not want to duck. And that means three two-week Grand Tours.

“It’s going to be a huge opportunity for everybody, even for ASO and RCS,” he added, somewhat optimistically, as neither body wanted to comment on the subject.

Not everybody at Tinkoff-Saxo has read the boss’s memos, though, as both Contador and two-time Giro winner Ivan Basso, a new recruit in 2015, told me they did not want Grand Tour fortnights.

“In my opinion, the Grand Tour is three weeks,” said Contador. “It has always been like this, and if we change this, we change cycling.”

That is the problem with continental Europeans.

Saxo-Tinkoff team owner Oleg Tinkoff

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Tinkoff-Saxo owner Oleg Tinkov – zero tolerance to doping

But Tinkov does have another prominent ally, Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford. There is a certain irony to this coalition of the willing, though: Tinkov has set himself up as the anti-Brailsford.

Sky ride conservatively to a sport scientist’s plan, Tinkoff-Saxo race instinctively; Sky say ex-dopers cannot work for them, Tinkoff hire all the good staff they have to let go; Sky wear dark colours, Tinkoff wear day-glo yellow…and so it goes on.

“You have to have a good rival,” admitted the Siberian, who regularly




about Team Sky. “It’s not interesting to fight with a weak enemy. Sky gives us that strong motivation; and I think we do for them. You have to fight.

“That’s good for cycling, like it is in business. Because whenever you get a monopoly the customers get less satisfaction. When you get a situation like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, the consumer wins. We think cycling fans are winning.”

So it is not personal, Sir Dave, it is only business, and if that sounds too much like

The Godfather 

for comfort, Tinkov will not mind.

He is in this to win it – win it all – and he cannot understand why others do not want that, too.

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Olympic cyclists announce engagement

Laura Trott has announced her engagement to fellow British Olympic cycling star Jason Kenny.


wrote on Twitter: 

“Merry Christmas everyone. I’ve had the most amazing couple of days thanks to @JasonKenny107 and the whole family #engaged”.

Both riders won two gold medals on the track at the London Olympics in 2012.

Kenny, 26, was successful in the

team sprint


individual sprint,

while Trott, 22, took gold in the

team pursuit




When the Royal Mail marked London 2012 by painting postboxes gold in the hometown of every British Olympic champion, Trott received two.

After a box was painted in Harlow, where she was born, Trott

tweeted the Post Office to ask for one in her hometown of Cheshunt “where it should be”.

Kenny, from Bolton, had previously won the team sprint at the Beijing Olympics four years earlier.

At this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, with the pair both competing in England colours, Trott

won the women’s 25km points race,

while Kenny took silver in the team sprint and individual sprint.

Track Cycling World Cup: Laura Trott wins gold in women's omnium

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Track Cycling World Cup: Laura Trott wins gold in women’s omnium

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The alternative 2014 sport awards

Memorable names, breakthrough stars, sporting soap operas, strangest moments and spats not involving Kevin Pietersen – chief sports writer Tom Fordyce hands out his alternative 2014 sports awards.

Greatest collective failure

One of the early highlights of the Commonwealth Games: spotting the Sri Lankan cycling team out on a quick training ride –

along the M74 motorway.

Germany's Thomas Muller and Andre Schurrle celebrate against Brazil

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Highlights: Brazil 1-7 Germany

Humiliation on a greater scale came with

Brazil’s 7-1 demolition by Germany

in the semi-final of their home World Cup. It was 0-5 before half an hour had been played; David Luiz and his errant fellow defenders should be grateful away goals don’t always count double.

And then there were the

struggling batsmen of Wirral Cricket Club.

Coming up against Haslington CC in April, they were all out for a grand total of three. The number 11 scored a single. The other two runs came from leg byes.

Villain of the Year

When your track record includes pushing over mascots in consecutive European Championships and having a punch-up with a compatriot at the conclusion of a high-profile Diamond League 1500m, merely taking your running vest off and waving it round your head on the home straight seems a little bland. But it

cost French maverick Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad steeplechase gold

at this summer’s Europeans, even if he then took partial revenge by winning 1500m gold a few days later. Gesticulating rudely at a booing crowd as he did so.

French steeplechaser Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad removes his vest

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European Championships: Steeplechaser disqualified for shirt strip

United States golfer Patrick Reed added a nice pantomime element to September’s Ryder Cup when, after making a par putt against Henrik Stenson in the Sunday singles, he placed a finger to his lips and ostentatiously shushed the Gleneagles galleries. His subsequent implosion at the WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai – admonishing himself for a three-putt

with a homophobic and x-rated tirade

– was a touch less matinee.

Twice banned for doping, distrusted by fellow athletes, trained in the past by a notorious doping coach and now by another man once banned for drugs. What’s not to like about unrepentant US sprinter Justin Gatlin? This summer he ran the

fastest 100m and 200m times by a man in his thirties

and the fastest ever one-day sprint double. The world raised a weary eyebrow.

Most impressive statistics

The marathon world record of two hours, two minutes and 57 seconds

set by Kenya’s Dennis Kimetto in Berlin in September

was the equivalent of running 105 consecutive laps of an athletics track in 69.93 seconds. Try running one lap in that time to put it in perspective.

Wimbledon 2014: Shot of the Day - Nick Kyrgios

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Watch Nick Kyrgios’s ‘shot of the year’

Three weeks before beating twice-champion Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon, then world 144 Nick Kyrgios was losing in the first round of a Challenger event in Nottingham to world 185 John-Patrick Smith.

There was a smaller margin

between gold and silver in the Commonwealth Games

10,000m final (0.03 sec between Moses Kipsiro and Josphat Bett) than in the Commonwealth 100m final (0.10 sec between Kemar Bailey-Cole and Adam Gemili.

Unlikeliest hero

A year short of his 40th birthday, having not won on the European Tour until his 37th year, Welshman Jamie Donaldson sealed Europe’s Ryder Cup triumph with a brilliant approach to within two feet of the pin on the 15th to force a battered Keegan Bradley into concession. He later rode team-mate Thomas Bjorn into the victory press conference like a half-cut shire horse.

Jamie Donaldson

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The moment Europe retained the Ryder Cup

Before Kiribati boxer Taoriba Biniati arrived in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games, she had never been in a ring. The boxing club on her archipelago home consists of a punch bag hanging from a breadfruit tree. She had never before had a single bout.

She still made it through to the end of her debut.

Grand National winner Pineau de Re was not only a 25-1 shot;

jockey Leighton Aspell had come out of retirement

to ride, trainer Richard Newland was a doctor who only looked after horses part-time. Owner John Provan had certainly bought the horse with the intention of winning the National – the Midlands National, that is.

Strangest moment

Before the Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Sochi, the Russian Interior Ministry Police choir (threatening and camp in equal measure) performed Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’, a sight even more surreal than Barry from EastEnders performing Labi Siffre’s ‘Something Inside So Strong’ at the World Indoor Bowls Championships in Great Yarmouth.

Shaun Williamson

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EastEnders’ Barry sings at the bowls

A month later, we had Lewis Hamilton, in full Mercedes kit and helmet,

being stopped by a security guard at the paddock

in Melbourne and asked to show his pass (Hamilton: “Ah, I’m one of the drivers…”).

And then, as the year drew to a close, Tiger Woods – after battling illness during the third round of the Hero World Challenge in Florida –

performed an uncanny impersonation of Clint Eastwood.

“I know what you’re thinking – did he fire 70 shots or only 69? Well to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kinda lost track myself…”

The nearly men

Spare a thought for Diego Godin, scorer of Atletico Madrid’s goal in the Champions League final, which had them ahead of Real Madrid until the 93rd minute before Sergio Ramos, Gareth Bale, Marcelo and

Cristiano Ronaldo reduced him to the status of footnote.

Mourinho says Steven Gerrard's slip gave Man City Premier League

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Steven Gerrard slip gave Man City Premier League – Mourinho

Wonder too how different Steven Gerrard’s year would have been had he not

slipped just before half-time against Chelsea

on the penultimate weekend of the Premier League season, handing Demba Ba a chance he could not miss and the title back to Manchester City.

And place an imaginary arm around the shoulder of jockey Richard Johnson, second behind Pineau de Re at Aintree aboard Balthazar King to set a new record of 18 Grand National rides without a win.

He has also been runner-up 15 times in the jockeys’ championship to 19-time winner AP McCoy.

The ‘at last’ men and women

Hurrah for Geraint Thomas at the Commonwealth Games road race on a filthy Glasgow day,

a first cycling gold for a Welshman at a Commonwealths

and a reward for countless hours aiding Sir Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish to their own triumphs.

Pavey wins 10,000m European title at 40

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Jo Pavey wins 10,000m European title at 40

Hurrah for Euan Burton, eliminated 100 seconds into his quest for judo glory at London 2012 (“I feel like I’ve let myself down, I’ve let my coaches down, I’ve let my mum and dad and my brother down…”), out of retirement aged 35 to win

Commonwealth gold in Glasgow

having carried his nation’s flag at the opening ceremony.

And hip-hip hooray for Jo Pavey, at 40 years old the oldest woman ever to claim gold at a European Championships when she won a thrilling 10,000m just 11 months after giving birth to her second child Emily.

Pavey has been running for her country for so long that she made her debut in a British vest in the same year her team-mate Morgan Lake was born.

Best sporting atmosphere

A British record of 80,000 fans turned up at Wembley for the

rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves at Wembley,

a new post-World War II record for a boxing event in Britain and noisier by far than the last fight at the old Wembley Stadium, when Frank Bruno beat Oliver McCall to win the WBC heavyweight title in 1995.

Approximately 4.8 million turned up along the streets of Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex and London to watch the first three days of the Tour de France. Nowhere was the support more impressive than on the Col de Buttertubs, a vast seething ‘V’ of fans, flags and astonished riders.

Tour de France in Yorkshire

Fans packed the route during the two Tour de France stages which passed through Yorkshire

And then there was the

first tee on the final morning of the Ryder Cup:

an hour before sunrise, most of Perthshire still as dark as a cave, a weird, ghostly glow lighting up one small circle of the Centenary course as a thousand mobile phones sent texts and tweets: “I’m here, I’m in, did you get your hip-flask through?”

Greatest anti-climax

What’s that? Roger Federer is pulling out of his ATP World Tour final against Novak Djokovic

with a back injury,

just after an epic semi-final against Stan Wawrinka?

England players look dejected after they lose 2-1 against Uruguay at the 2014 World Cup

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Suarez scores twice as England lose 2-1 at the World Cup

At least that was only one man down. Britain’s

big hopes at the Tour de France went down like tenpins

– Mark Cavendish in the first stage sprint, Chris Froome once on the fourth stage and then twice, ending his title defence, on the fifth.

Does England’s football team’s performance at the World Cup count as an anti-climax? Despite all the past failings and pre-tournament lack of expectation, it surely does; they failed to win a single game, spending less time in Brazil than at their training camp in Miami.

Most edge-of-seat finale

Going into the last day of La Liga season, all three of Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona

could have won the title.

Highlights: France 20-22 Ireland

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Highlights: France 20-22 Ireland

Going into the final set of the

Roger Federer v Novak Djokovic Wimbledon final

– Federer having reeled off five successive games from 5-2 down in the fourth set – no-one dared leave their Centre Court seat for a second.

And going into the last minute of the last match in the Six Nations, only a disallowed Damien Chouly try for France – ruled out for a forward pass – finally

sent the title to Ireland

rather than England.

Most drawn-out soap opera

The spurned

Kevin Pietersen versus England players, coaches and management.

Leeds owner

Massimo Cellino versus the Football League

and Italian judicial system.

The 2022 Qatar World Cup bid versus ethical voting procedures and ethical internal investigations by Fifa.

Least popular with Kevin Pietersen

Former head coach Andy Flower:

“Contagiously sour, infectiously dour,” said Pietersen, in the style of a cricketing Morrissey. “He could walk into a room and suck all the joy out of it in five seconds.” Again like Morrissey.

Former wicketkeeper Matt Prior, mocked for his cycling obsession and nickname ‘Big Cheese': “Our Cheese was out there, growing runny in the heat. A Dairylea triangle thinking he was a brie.”

Returning head coach Peter Moores, dismissed by this reflection on his previous spell: “The team wasn’t happy, things weren’t right, and England cricket was going nowhere.”

Spiciest spat not involving Kevin Pietersen

Moments after the United States team had been thrashed 16½-11½ at Gleneagles – their eighth defeat in the last 10 Ryder Cups – Phil Mickelson spelled out exactly why: his captain Tom Watson. Mickelson, said former Europe leader Sir Nick Faldo, had “thrown his captain under the bus”.

Phil Mickelson

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Phil Mickelson questions Tom Watson’s captaincy

The 64-year-old Watson, by the end, resembled a granddad mistakenly put in charge of a stag-do: exhausted, confused, alone.

So long had

Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora

been at each other’s throats that it was a relief when Fury’s fists finally ended the lame linguistic scuffling at the Excel Centre in late November.

And what of the skinny world of cycling? Russian Ivan Rovny and Italian Gianluca Brambilla

were thrown out of the Tour of Spain

after punching each other mid-ride on the 16th stage, but Spain’s Vicente de Mateus and Italy’s Enrico Rossi topped that in the closing kilometres of the 100-mile sixth stage of the Volta a Portugal by first crashing into each other and then

engaging in a furious cleat-to-cleat exchange 

in the middle of the road.

Breakthrough British star

In 2008 Lizzy Yarnold was a struggling heptathlete, disillusioned enough with her progress to sign up for UK Sport’s Girls4Gold talent search scheme.

Winning skeleton Olympic gold in Sochi

meant that search could be called off.

England's Claudia Fragapane reacts to victory

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Watch Fragapane’s remarkable floor routine

Great Britain’s young female sprinters had remarkable success individually – a first medal by a British woman in a European 200m final in 32 years, the first in a 100m final for 40, an 18-year-old World Junior champion.

As a 4x100m relay squad, they won European gold and

broke a national record that had stood for 34 years

twice in 11 days. Here come the girls.

Before the Commonwealth Games it would have been easy to overlook 4ft 6in gymnast Claudia Fragapane. Not by the end, when the 17-year-old had become the first British woman in 84 years to win four gold medals at one Commonwealths.

Seems a lifetime ago but was actually still 2014 award

David Moyes as Manchester United manager.

Andy Murray being coached by Ivan Lendl.

Kevin Pietersen ending an Ashes series as England’s leading run-scorer.

Most memorable name

Each had their fans: Sultana Frizell, Canadian hammer thrower, whose retention of her Commonwealth title in Glasgow confirmed her as the event’s ‘currant’ champion, and Ivory Coast goalkeeper Boubacar Barry, surely a Catchphrase picture waiting to happen.

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Tour de Yorkshire reveals host sites

The Tour de France in the Yorkshire DalesOrganisers of the Tour de Yorkshire hope to build on the success of the Tour de France Grand Départ which took place in Yorkshire in July

The start and finish locations of the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire have been announced.

Bridlington, Leeds, Scarborough, Selby, Wakefield and York will all feature – but their exact place in the 2015 race remains under wraps.

The event takes place between 1 and 3 May and precise route details will be revealed on 21 January.

The three-day cycle race was announced in September and hopes to build on the success of the Tour de France.

‘Huge milestone’

The new event, which is approved by governing body the UCI, will be run by Welcome to Yorkshire and Amaury Sport Organisation, which operates the Tour de France.

It is hoped the event, which will be broadcast on television, will attract some of the world’s leading cyclists.

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “This is another huge milestone for Yorkshire as we position the county as the cycling heartland of Europe.

“This is the first ever Tour de Yorkshire, I am confident it will become a huge annual event and something that will raise Yorkshire’s profile year on year.”


Analysis: Matt Slater, BBC Sport cycling reporter

Tour de Yorkshire map

As we discovered with the Tour de France, when you have a patch as big as Yorkshire, it is impossible to visit everybody on a bike in just a few days.

So while it is good to see the north-east coastline feature this time, there will be disappointment that Hull has missed out again, as has South Yorkshire.

But they have not been “snubbed”, they simply did not want to pay the £100,000 or so hosting fee the organisers were asking for, and need for an event with no ticket revenues.

It also does not mean Hull and South Yorkshire will see no racing: we only have the As and the Bs at the moment, not the bits in between.

For that we must wait until 21 January, although there is nothing to stop us all from playing “guess the route” in the meantime.


Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France, said: “I am delighted we are returning to Yorkshire where we saw the grandest ever Grand Départ for the Tour de France.

“It is clear the people of Yorkshire are passionate about cycling and we can’t wait to bring them this new race.”

An estimated three million people watched the Grand Départ over two days in Yorkshire, with the economic benefit to the region put at £102m.

A mass-participation “sportive” with several distances where people can ride the same route as the professionals will be held on 3 May.

Diana Johnson, Labour MP for Hull North, said: “I think people will be a little disappointed because of course we did not have [the Tour de France] this year either, but we’ve got a lot to look forward to in 2017 with City of Culture.

“There’s huge preparation going on for that so I guess our resources need to be concentrated on making sure its a wonderful success for the city.”

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Johnny’s favourite stores