Tour of Britain contract won by SweetSpot after group fends off interest from ASO
The Tour of Britain will be organised by SweetSpot for another five years.
Last Updated: 31/07/13 12:14pm
Sweetspot have run the week-long stage race since 2004 and have now signed a deal to extend their involvement to 2018.
The existing agreement had been due to expire this year and the new contract was put out to tender by British Cycling last December.
ASO, who are keen to capitalise on Britain's cycling boom and will stage the Grand Depart of next year's Tour de France in England, expressed an interest in taking over the race in the spring, with company president Jean-Etienne Amaury admitting it was "something we are looking into".
However, SweetSpot beat them and a number of other bidders to the rights, and director of cycling Mick Bennett is now promising to continue the event's growth.
He said: "We are simply thrilled to be reappointed as British Cycling's delivery partner for the Tour of Britain for another five years.
"We are proud of the work we have done over the last ten years in making the Tour of Britain the event it is today and I look forward to working closely with British Cycling to deliver an even brighter future for the race."
Key to SweetSpot's success was a commitment to see the Tour of Britain's status in professional cycling elevated.
The event is currently a third-tier race (level one), but British Cycling wants to see it promoted to the second tier (HC, or hors categorie). The top tier is filled with the sport's biggest, UCI WorldTour races such as the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Paris-Roubaix.
Jonny Clay, British Cycling director of Cyclesport and membership, said: "The agreement sets out clear objectives for SweetSpot, including the attainment of HC status for the race, a milestone that, along with other improvements, will help to encourage the participation of the very best teams and riders in the world."
British Cycling also favoured SweetSpot due to its appreciation of the need to develop cycling in Britain in tandem with the race.
Mr Clay added: "Of the many responses we received, SweetSpot best demonstrated an understanding of our desire for integrated activity and the strong relationship we would like our national tour to have with our wider programmes and initiatives."