3 min read

British Cycling in urgent efforts to save events following SweetSpot liquidation


British Cycling is facing a tight deadline as it races to deliver a top-tier women’s stage race this summer, striving to rescue the nation’s premier road cycling events.

The governing body found itself in a challenging position after SweetSpot, the company responsible for organising the Tour of Britain and owning the Women’s Tour, filed for liquidation last month with debts totalling around £1 million – a significant portion of which is owed to British Cycling.

Although an ambitious five-year plan had been devised to integrate men’s and women’s Tours of Britain into a comprehensive events program covering track, BMX and mountain biking, immediate action was necessary to secure the future of both road races as British Cycling takes over race organisation internally.

Both races are set to maintain their status and ranking on the International Cycling Union (UCI) calendar, with the men’s race slated as part of the UCI ProSeries in September and the women’s edition included in the Women’s WorldTour in June.

While British Cycling has more flexibility in organising the eight-stage men’s race, time constraints dictate that the women’s race may be scaled down – possibly to four stages instead of the usual six – with plans to gradually expand it again starting in 2025.

Jon Dutton, Chief Executive of British Cycling, emphasised the urgency of the situation for the women’s race.

“For the women’s race we have a day-by-day plan and we’re in a race against the clock, every day counts,” Dutton said.

“We’ve done an immense amount of work, we have some pieces in place and we need to finish the rest of it and have a level of confidence we can deliver a safe race that gives a great rider experience and which is financially sustainable. That is weeks away from determining that point.”

The crisis in UK road racing follows significant milestones such as the Tour de France Grand Depart in Yorkshire a decade ago and the hosting of the UCI World Championships in Yorkshire in 2019 and Glasgow in 2023.

Restoring trust after SweetSpot’s collapse poses a significant challenge, with reports indicating that teams and riders did not receive prizemoney from last year’s Tour of Britain, and law enforcement agencies are among the company’s creditors.

Both races entail substantial financial investments, and while British Cycling acknowledges the strain on its resources, it hopes they will become financially sustainable in the future through investments and revenue generation efforts.

Decisions regarding prizemoney are pending, with a commitment to maintaining parity between men’s and women’s races on a proportional basis.

Riders and teams eagerly await updates on both races, recognising their importance in Olympic preparation and as lead-up events to the world championships.

Lizzie Deignan, a two-time winner of the Women’s Tour, stated, “I’m really happy to see British Cycling investing to try and make sure these two important UK stage races happen in 2024 and for years to come, and I hope everyone can get behind this.”

It's free to join the team!

Join the most engaged community in the Sports Business World.

Get all the latest news, insights, data, education and event updates.