Cycling’s Women’s Tour cancelled due to lack of funding

Women’s Tour cancelled due to lack of funding - Whitehead
Women’s Tour cancelled due to lack of funding - Whitehead

This year’s Women’s Tour has been cancelled due to “a combination of increased running costs and a reduced level of commercial support”. Organisers SweetSpot announced the decision on Friday, saying the race would take a “one-year hiatus”.

The cancellation had been heavily trailed with SweetSpot making a renewed appeal for funding three weeks ago. Telegraph Sport understands it was looking for around £500,000. A crowdfunding campaign which organisers were hoping would raise over £100,000 of that figure reached only £18,000.

“Owing to a combination of increased running costs (approximately 20 per cent higher in comparison to the 2022 race) and a reduced level of commercial support, it has proved impossible to deliver the event that was proposed for June,” read a statement from SweetSpot.

“The decision has been taken now following a three-week renewed appeal for funding, which included an incredibly popular crowdfunding scheme that was enthusiastically supported by over 500 race fans. The Women’s Tour thanks everybody who donated for their unwavering loyalty, as well as all the messages of goodwill that have been sent. A refunds process, overseen by the GoFundMe platform, has begun.

“This outcome is incredibly disappointing for the stakeholders set to host this year’s race, who have shown great support and understanding throughout this process. We will continue to work with them to explore opportunities for hosting world-class cycling events in the near future.”

SweetSpot added that it was “already working” on plans for next year’s edition, which will mark the 10th anniversary of the inaugural Women’s Tour. It already has an agreement with the Welsh Government to host the start in Wales.

Britain’s Lizzie Deignan, twice a champion of the Women’s Tour, told Telegraph Sport this week that it would be “a real shame to lose one of the most professional, prestigious races on the women’s calendar”.

Deignan, who is returning from the birth of her second child, was hoping to be in contention to win the race as she prepares for this summer’s Tour de France Femmes and road world championships in Glasgow.

The cancellation of the race is the latest blow to the domestic cycling scene in the UK with the Tour Series already cancelled this year and a number of domestic teams folding.