Businesses in Harrogate say they are preparing to make the most of opportunities this autumn, as the town prepares to welcome the equivalent of the cycling world cup.
The UCI Road World Championships are set to arrive in North Yorkshire on September 22, preceded for the first time by the Yorkshire 2019 Para-Cycling International on Saturday, September 21, a qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
The nine-day event will see approximately 1,400 athletes from 90 different countries arrive in the region, along with support teams, journalists and other visitors from across the UK and overseas.
Road races will start from different towns across Yorkshire, with each day’s racing finishing in Harrogate, with all except one using the same Harrogate road circuit.
Time trials will take place from Sunday, September 22 to Wednesday, September 25, where riders set off at regular intervals to race against the clock. They include the first ever Team Time Trial Mixed Relay involving teams of male and female riders.
Rolling road closures will be largely used on the race routes through North Yorkshire, but due to the nature of racing on the Harrogate circuit time trial routes, and the Yorkshire 2019 Para Cycling International, fixed road closures will be in place to maintain safety.
Closures will generally be in place from about two hours before the first rider is due, with dedicated vehicle crossing points at selected locations open until about 30 minutes before the first rider. The roads will be reopened as soon as it is safe to do so after the last rider has passed.
Many businesses in the town are already planning to make the most of the opportunities presented by the race by planning deliveries and staffing rotas well in advance. The race will attract thousands of international and national visitors, with an additional 250 million viewers worldwide expected to watch the event.
Simon Cotton is managing director of HRH group, which owns the Fat Badger pub and two hotels on the race circuit, both of which are fully booked on key dates throughout the championships. They include the Yorkshire Hotel, which sits near the finish line.
He said: “This September will be a very exciting time for Harrogate and Yorkshire. People will be coming here, spending their money locally, staying in hotels and restaurants and seeing what a beautiful area this is to visit.
“The focus is on these nine days of racing, but I’m particularly excited about the ongoing, longer-term picture.
“There will be potentially hundreds of millions of people seeing what a beautiful place this is and hopefully coming to see us in the future - it’s a fantastic opportunity for local businesses.
“Harrogate is a busy place all year round, particularly in summer and late summer, but this is a unique opportunity and we shall certainly be making hay while the sun shines and inviting other businesses to do the same.”
Simon Cotton said they will be planning ahead to ensure staffing and deliveries remain unaffected by the road closures.
They will be carrying extra stock, reducing the number of deliveries and working with suppliers to rearrange delivery times of fresh produce, as well as seeing which staff can walk to work on days when road closures are longer.
Simon added: “I think if you plan ahead and make preparations in advance then there is nothing stopping you making the most of the opportunities the race will bring with it.”
Chris Mason, manager of the Turkish Baths Harrogate said they were also looking forward to making the most of the championships: “We think this will be a fantastic event,” he said.
“It will bring a real boost to the local economy, as well as bringing a lot of trade into the town. The championships will create a lasting legacy by bringing more visitors back to our historic and beautiful town.”
During most events, the main circuit in Harrogate will take place along:
- Otley Road
- Pot Bank
- The B6161
- Penny Pot Lane
- Cornwall Road
- Harlow Moor Road
- Harlow Moor Drive
- Valley Drive
- Cornwall Road
- Hereford Road
- Kent Road
- Ripon Road
The finish line sector will include West Park and Parliament Street.
Elsewhere in North Yorkshire, the road race events will be subject to rolling road closures similar to those used during the Tour de Yorkshire, where roads are closed by police outriders typically for no longer than an hour. In some locations longer closures will be in place, such as start points, busier towns and some climbs.
North Yorkshire County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said: “To be given the opportunity to host a major sporting and spectator event is a great honour for Harrogate and for North Yorkshire. The UCI Road World Championships are a once-in-a-generation occasion, which will introduce our county to a truly global audience.
“North Yorkshire County Council is aware that some residents will have understandable concerns about road closures during the nine-day event.
“For that reason we have ensured that officers with great experience of such events are working closely with the championships organiser, with local businesses, organisations and residents to ensure that everything runs smoothly with minimum disruption to our daily lives.”
Parking and road closures
Park and Stride and some shuttle bus facilities will be created from key locations in Harrogate, including the Great Yorkshire Showground.
Some pay and display on-street parking in the town centre will be closed and some car parks used for event purposes. Additional car parking will be created.
Where schools are affected by road closures, North Yorkshire County Council is making alternative arrangements for home to school travel. Parents and schools will be informed of any alterations to school opening or transport times.
Further road closure information will be released over the coming weeks.