YORKSHIRE councils have “dodged a hefty bill” with the cancellation of the Tour de Yorkshire 2022, a senior councillor has said.

Councillor Andy Solloway, leader of the Independent group on Craven District Council, said he was not surprised the cycling race was cancelled for a third year in a row and that he believes councils would have had to fork out more cash to the organisers if it went ahead.

Organisers Welcome to Yorkshire received the backing of councils including Craven, North Yorkshire, Barnsley, Richmondshire, East Riding, and Redcar and Cleveland which agreed to underwrite the event by £100,000 each should not enough sponsorship be raised.

The extra funding came on top of the £100,000 each council in race start and finish locations had already agreed to.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, councillor Solloway said: “It seems to me that the Tour de Yorkshire’s unviability would have meant that local councils were in line for subsidising rather than underwriting as we were assured at the time, which was actually less than a couple of months ago. “I thin councils with their stretched funds may have dodged a hefty bill here.”

Welcome to Yorkshire said the decision to cancel the event was made due to “financial challenges” and after “lengthy discussions” with the race co-organiser Amaury Sport Organisation.

The race would have seen a four-day men’s event going from Beverley to Redcar, followed by Skipton to Leyburn, then Barnsley to Huddersfield and Halifax to Leeds.

A two-day women’s race was also planned for the middle two stages.

The cancellation comes after the 2020 and 2021 legs of the event were called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Councillor Solloway, who also sits on North Yorkshire County Council, added: “While I think that there will be many disappointed, I also think that there are others that will take a different view and not relish the disruption.

“I am wondering if Welcome to Yorkshire knew that this was going to happen, but still pushed ahead with trying to get the councils on board.”

Councils which were approached by Welcome to Yorkshire to provide financial support but did not make any decisions included Leeds, Calderdale and Kirklees.

A spokesperson for the organisers said: “Welcome to Yorkshire’s commitment to the Tour de Yorkshire is in a facilitatory capacity to organise, plan and deliver the race.

“Funding has always come via a combination of local authorities paying for the right to host a start or a finish of a stage and commercial partners paying for sponsorship, engagement and branding opportunities.

“Welcome to Yorkshire has been transparent through the whole process with regards to the increased costs and delays in planning because of Covid-19.

“Increasing commercial demands meant a line had to be drawn somewhere as it was becoming not viable despite how disappointing this may seem.”