Tour de Yorkshire image overhaul proposed branded a “farce” by Richmondshire councillor

Plans to overhaul the Tour de Yorkshire’s image by aligning the event with prevalent societal values, such as equality, diversity, mental health and sustainability, have received a mixed reaction with a Richmondshire councillor calling it a “farce”.

Welcome to Yorkshire’s strategy to fund the elite international cycling event next May has emerged as it was revealed Yorkshire taxpayers are being asked to underwrite the event by up to £900,000 because race organisers ASO “is no longer prepared to”, despite standing to generate significant profits from the event.

A report to be considered by North Yorkshire County Council’s executive next Tuesday also states the tourism body’s sponsorship strategy will see it drop getting a ‘high figure’ headline sponsor to act as the main rights holder of the race and see businesses approached to become partners of the social values.

Welcome to Yorkshire have stated that, following a very difficult two years for all involved, the race needs to be seen as a genuine celebration of Yorkshire as opposed to just a bike race.

This will mean a much longer lead into the race with events celebrating Yorkshire’s culture, heritage, arts, crafts, food and drink with the race being the headline act of “nine months of activation”.

Nevertheless, the sponsorship strategy of highlighting the event’s values such as equality has already been questioned, with some critics highlighting how the event features a two-day race for women and a higher profile four-day race for men.

The unveiling of Welcome to Yorkshire’s proposals, which include aligning the Tour de Yorkshire with the value of diversity, comes just a week after Nic Diamini made headlines by becoming the first black South African to ride in the Tour de France, the pinnacle of what has been dubbed “the world’s whitest sport”.

Leader of the county council, Councillor Carl Les, who is also a Welcome to Yorkshire board member, said the fresh approach to sponsorship along social value lines was “a very sound idea”.

He said the panel seeking sponsorship would be under the direction of former Sky Bet boss Richard Flint and had “a wealth of experience” in the area.

Councillor Les said: “We know that it isn’t just a cycle race. It’s an event that promotes women’s cycling and is linked now to a cultural festival of Yorkshire.

“But the prime reason in the county council wanting to support it is the exposure it gives the county’s scenery and attractions to an international market.”

Asked to comment about whether ASO should underwrite the event as it stood to make profits, Councillor Les said: “You could argue that. Clearly ASO don’t want to do that.

“The alternative then is to not hold the race and, bearing in mind that it is an important part of the cyclng calendar, but it can also serve as a great marketing too for the areas it goes through. It is worth our while to continue with the race.”

Leader of the authority’s Independent group and Richmond county councillor, Stuart Parsons, said staging a two-day women’s race and a four-day men’s event would “not promote equality in any way, shape or form”.

He said: “It would still be an elite cycling event. It is still not equality or diversity-conforming, it’s just paying lip service.

“If they are serious about it they need to be finding a way to adapt the event so it fits all those issues, such as holding disability races, and then produce something that’s absolutely amazing.

“This is a farce. It’s a very expensive publicity activity and with nine local authorities each underwriting it by £100,000 it takes the pressure away from the organisers to actually get their act together.”

8 Comments

  1. Disgraceful! Are we going to have to pay for it year after year? The world already know Yorkshire is beautiful. Let’s withdraw and let them go to Cumbria or Lancashire!

  2. I agree it is a farce. There must be a conflict of interest of councillor Les promoting it. If it’s such a good event let the sponsors pay for it and use our council tax money to pay for Care for the elderly.

  3. I don’t believe the gender equality holds, We are different hence Women playing less sets in Tennis. That’s not born of prejudice I am a man, but prefer to watch womens tennis because you tend to get more sustained rallies. I do believe it would be good to have a disabled race as an addition.

  4. This has never been “just a bike race” !
    However, under the circumstances described in this article, one has to ask some serious questions if the AOS (presumably a private company/organisation) is going to profit from council tax contributions.

  5. If it is that good and attracts a worldwide audience you must assume that high profile commercial sponsor would be fighting each other to headline it
    So where are they ?
    It seems that only local Councils are bankrolling the even for the commercial benefit of ASO who seem to take non of the risks but are set to take all the tangible menetary profits
    How much are they actually adding to the expense of this event
    With all of this social diversity etc etc it is very woke and will become a circus as all the different groups will insist on being represented and if they are not will all be crying foul as they will be ebing discriminated against
    Just lets drop the whole thing now

  6. Just seen the report about R.D.C. Litter problems.

    “There was a need for more litter bins, but a lack of funding to empty them”.

    But they have £300,000 to spend on a one day bike race!!!!!

  7. We dont need a Bike Race to sell ‘God’s Country’.
    If the want to come, let them pay.
    DJW

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