Tour of Britain future in doubt amidst financial dispute with British Cycling

National federation terminates agreement with organiser SweetSpot over unpaid fees

Clock17:30, Tuesday 7th November 2023
Wout van Aert was the biggest star at the 2023 Tour of Britain

© Sprint Cycling Agency

Wout van Aert was the biggest star at the 2023 Tour of Britain

The future of Britain’s biggest men’s race, the Tour of Britain, is in doubt after British Cycling terminated their agreement with race organisers SweetSpot over unpaid feeds, alleged to be in the hundreds of thousands of pounds.

British Cycling own the rights to the Tour of Britain race, and tender those rights to promoters SweetSpot who organise the event. To do this, SweetSpot pays British Cycling in instalments to maintain their agreement, but The Guardian and Cycling Weekly reported on Tuesday that SweetSpot is behind on these payments, with the two publications placing the amount owed at £700,000.

The agreement with SweetSpot reportedly forms a large part of British Cycling’s income for the year, and leaves a nearly quarter of a million-pound gap in their accounts at a time when budgets are already stretched.

As a result of the non-payments, which reportedly date back to 2022, British Cycling have terminated their contract with SweetSpot, a spokesperson confirmed to Cycling Weekly. This means the 2024 Tour of Britain is effectively without an organiser and therefore may not take place next year.

However, the British Cycling spokesperson seemed positive about the possibilities of the race going ahead under a new organisation: “British Cycling remains fully committed to the delivery of the Tour of Britain in 2024, and will share further details in due course,” they told Cycling Weekly.

SweetSpot have encountered several financial challenges in the last two years, with high costs incurred due to cutting short of the men’s Tour of Britain in 2022 due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II, and then being forced to cancel both the Tour Series and Women's Tour in 2023 to “increased running costs and a reduced level of commercial support”.

Despite the heavy blow of the contract termination with British Cycling, SweetSpot have made positive comments about the futures of the races they organise, and seem to be hoping for a resolution with the governing body.

“We are in very positive talks, particularly regarding the Women’s Tour, with numerous stakeholders,” SweetSpot’s owner Hugh Roberts told The Guardian.

“I am optimistic that the issues with British Cycling can be overcome. We have to resolve our differences.”

The Guardian and Cycling Weekly report that both parties have now instructed lawyers to handle the dispute.

When asked for comment by GCN, SweetSpot confirmed that lawyers were now involved, but planning for other races was continuing.

"SweetSpot Group are in discussion with their lawyers regarding the recent announcement from British Cycling concerning their alleged termination of the Tour of Britain contract," a provided statement read.

"SweetSpot Group are still progressing with planning for the Women’s Tour in 2024 and beyond."

Unlike the Tour of Britain, the rights to the Women's Tour are owned by SweetSpot, rather than British Cycling.

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