Ineos Grenadiers will remain committed to ensuring the Tour of Britain returns to the professional calendar in 2024 and beyond, according to new CEO John Allert after the race’s future was plunged into doubt due to financial issues.
The Tour of Britain’s former organiser, SweetSpot, entered ‘voluntary liquidation’ earlier this month after facing upwards of £1million in legal claims. The British company ran the race from its modern 2004 revival until 2023, but British Cycling withdrew its deal allowing SweetSpot to organise the race this past November after allegations were made that the company owed around £750,000.
As British team Ineos Grenadiers’ home race, Allert stated they were keen to work with the national governing body to salvage the race due to the event’s importance to the country, riders and home fans.
“We’re obviously very interested stakeholders in terms of, you know, a ‘home race’. I think it’s very sad… maybe this underpins the potential need for change,” said Allert during a video call with British and international media, including Cyclingnews.
“All I can say is as a team with British heritage you know, we will work with any stakeholders, British Cycling or any commercial stakeholders, to as quickly as possible see a Tour of Britain back on the calendar.
“I think it’s an important race, not just for the UK, but I think some of these national races are huge opportunities for local riders, non-WorldTour teams, and for local fans and having a gap on the calendar like that is not good for the sport.”
Allert was promoted to CEO during a significant reshuffle of staff at Ineos Grenadiers in the final months of 2023, with Dave Brailsford stepping back from his management role to one that oversees the company’s involvement in a range of different sports. This will include operations at Manchester United after Ineos’ billion-pound investment in the Premier League club.
Alongside the Tour of Britain, SweetSpot were also the race organiser for the Women’s Tour, which after being cancelled in 2023 due to a lack of sponsors and funding, now looks set to disappear from the Women’s WorldTour calendar.
British Cycling released an original statement in November stating that it remained committed to providing a men’s race with no mention of the Women’s Tour, but in an updated statement to Cycling Weekly added that they “are making every possible effort to ensure that the Tour of Britain and a UCI Women’s World Tour stage race take place in 2024 and beyond”.
It’s understood that British Cycling will speak more about its possible plans for the future of both races next week.
The British cycling scene has taken multiple hits in recent years with only two UCI races likely to remain should British Cycling, with the help of Ineos Grenadiers and others, not be able to revive the race after the financial struggles – the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic (1.2) and Ride London Classique (2.WWT).
Ten years since cycling in Britain reached its pinnacle by hosting the 2014 Tour de France amid the peaks of Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Mark Cavendish and Team Sky’s powers, the scene has experienced serious decline and the legacy of the early 2010s could be vanishing.
The 2023 Tour of Britain was won by Wout van Aert (Visma-Lease a Bike) while Ineos Grenadiers found a reprieve in their home race through a Carlos Rodríguez victory on the final stage into Caerphilly. The racing was heavily criticised with a largely-repetitive set of flat finishes on six of eight stages, offering similar sprint finishes without much exciting racing.
The Women’s Tour last ran in 2022 and was won by Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl-Trek), but failed to return in 2023 after an unsuccessful attempt to crowdfund enough money left organisers no choice but to cancel.