North Yorkshire delivers a great finish for the World Road Championships despite extreme weather

Richard Flinton, chief executive of North Yorkshire County Council, and John Nicholson, director of Ringway, with the decorated gritter.

North Yorkshire showed its resilience today as partners and organisations rallied to make sure they delivered a great UCI Road World Championships final, despite the severe weather interrupting the route.

Whereas some major events nationally – including the Regatta London had to be cancelled – the Men’s Elite Road Race was able to go ahead, albeit with an amended route.

Thousands of people lined the route in waterproofs and umbrellas to get sight one of the largest sporting events of the year.

Richard Flinton – Chief Executive of North Yorkshire County Council, said: “We were really disappointed for the race organisers as they had to take the decision to curtail the route, cutting out Buttertubs and Grinton Moor Summits in the Upper Dales, one of the most beautiful parts of North Yorkshire.

“We were particularly sorry for those communities in Reeth and Grinton who were looking forward to the race after the difficulties they have faced during July’s flash floods, but the decision was unavoidable because we had to ensure the safety of cyclists and spectators and to concentrate assets in other places to enable the race to go ahead at all.

“But so many heroic spectators still came out for what has been an extremely wet but a spectacular finish to a great week with many highlights.”

One of the highlights of the race were the colourful decorations and celebrations which took place in towns and villages up and down North Yorkshire. Homemade bunting, land art and window displays made by local businesses and volunteers decorated miles of the race route. It provided a colourful backdrop to the race, which was broadcast to an estimated 250 million viewers.

Another colourful feature of the weekend’s racing (Saturday 28 and Sunday 29) was the first ever UCI publicity caravan containing North Yorkshire County Council’s rainbow gritter, which gave extra colour to the day.

The gritter clad by contractor Ringway in the UCI rainbow colours and bearing the motto “North Yorkshire Salt of the Earth” will now plough some of the county’s most rural routes in the Upper Dales during the harshest winter weather.  It will be a legacy of the World Championships and a tribute to the gritty resilience of communities which led an inspiring recovery from the summer’s devastating flash floods.

Richard Flinton, Chief Executive of North Yorkshire County Council, said: “Around ninety nations have taken part in the UCI Road World Championships this month and coverage has been streamed across 150 countries. Many of our villages, market towns and of course the City of Ripon, have featured in this extensive coverage. The images of the Yorkshire Dales will have been seen by millions of people across the world.

“The resilience of the people who live and work where the flash floods hit hardest continues to inspire many and alongside the very many practical ways we are supporting them – this feels a fitting tribute and a strong message to the world.

“Once again North Yorkshire has proven to be an outstanding host to world class cycling events and the typical hearty welcome, come rain or shine, shown to the competitors and visitors from around the globe is one of the very many reasons we are proud to serve this county.”

John Nicholson, Director at Ringway, said; “The gritter is a workhorse of our winter maintenance service and our staff who take to the roads to clear them of ice and snow, often in the most challenging conditions, like the communities they serve, really are salt of the earth.”

This story was published 29 September 2019