By Tony Earnshaw LDRS
There are hopes that the postponed Tour de Yorkshire will still pass through Kirklees when the race goes ahead in 2022.
Organiser Welcome to Yorkshire announced this week that the event, which had already been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, would be pushed back to 2022.
Commenting on the decision Welcome to Yorkshire’s Chief Executive James Mason said whilst it was “disappointing” the decision was “the right one and perhaps the only one we could make.
“The uncertainty in front of us meant it was impossible to plan or commit the resource that the race needs.”
Kirklees has featured in two of the four Tour de Yorkshire races so far – the 2017 event and the inaugural race in 2015.
Huddersfield was set to be a host location in 2020 until the health emergency forced the postponement of the race.
Martyn Bolt, a Conservative councillor for Mirfield, a keen cyclist and a former national board member of the Cyclists’ Touring Club, said he hoped arrangements made to include Kirklees would be honoured.
“There is the sporting element to the race as well as the advertising, promotion and marketing element.
“It is possible to promote your region via the Tour. For an authority like Kirklees to buy international promotion would cost far more than it would to contribute to the Tour de Yorkshire.”
This year the council allocated £79,000 towards WtY. Between 2014 and 2018 it gave a total of £35,676.
Speaking last year Council Leader Clr Shabir Pandor described the race as “a fantastic opportunity to showcase Huddersfield and Kirklees on a truly international stage and to provide the warmest of welcomes to visitors from all over the world.”
Commenting on the latest postponement Clr Bolt said: “Nobody would be daft enough to make any long-term projections about the route of the Tour.
“But I would hope that the commercial and local authority sponsors are back on board and are looking at ways to promote the area.”
He also pointed towards local athletes such as Holmfirth cyclist Gabriel ” Gabz” Cullaigh as rising stars and for whom the Tour could be a route to greater success as well as being an example to others.
Holmfirth-born professional road racer Mr Cullaigh, 24, currently rides for UCI WorldTeam MoviStar, a top-flight outfit. He has been described as a future Olympic hopeful.