A new annual professional cycling road race in London won’t be added to the elite UCI World Tour calendar in 2013, the International Cycling Union said.
Earlier today, the office of London mayor Boris Johnson and British Cycling announced plans to host an annual pro road cycling race starting from August 2013. The two-day event will combine a 100-mile pro race consisting of 200 elite riders, as well as a mass participation race.
“We know that the British cycling has big development plans, and we are very pleased with it,” UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani said in a phone interview today. “But so far, there are no projects that have been submitted for any new race and so we can say today that for 2013, it would be really impossible to have a new race in the World Tour calendar.”
Organizers are keen to add the London race to the elite UCI World Tour schedule, which includes the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia, “as soon as possible,” Jonny Clay, British Cycling’s head of cycle sport and membership services, said in an interview.
There are currently 28 events on the UCI World Tour calendar for 2012. Five races are scheduled for August, including the Vuelta a Espana, which is held from Aug. 18 to Sept. 9. Although London hosted the start of the 2007 Tour de France, Britain hasn’t got an event on the calendar of the world’s greatest road races.
Organizers have opened a two-month tender process to find a commercial partner for the event, which has the backing of world road race champion Mark Cavendish of Britain.
“This will become one of the biggest cycling events in the world in years to come,” said Clay, a bronze medalist at the 2000 Sydney Games in the team cycling pursuit.
Organizers want the London pro road race to rival the commercial success of the 30-year-old London Marathon and the Wimbledon tennis championships, which celebrated its 125th anniversary last year.
“One of the ambitions of this event is that the revenue it will hopefully generate will be fed back into cycling and into cycling infrastructure in London,” Kulveer Ranger, mayor of London’s director of environment, said to a press conference today.
London has invested more than 200 million pounds ($314 million) into cycling in the past four years, Ranger said.