The future of the Women’s Tour, a prominent event in the UCI Women’s World Tour, is in jeopardy following the liquidation of its owner and promoter, SweetSpot. The British company, which also previously managed the men’s Tour of Britain and the Tour Series, has appointed KRE corporate recovery due to escalating liabilities surpassing £1m.
Hugh Roberts, CEO of SweetSpot, expressed grave concerns for the Women’s Tour, which was already cancelled in 2023 due to funding issues. This development marks another setback for British cycling, coming on the heels of a dispute between SweetSpot and British Cycling over unpaid rights fees amounting to £750,000, leading to the withdrawal of Tour of Britain naming rights in November.
SweetSpot had hoped for a resolution with legal teams engaged, but additional challenges arose, including potential legal action from the Isle of Wight council regarding the cancelled final stages of the 2022 Tour of Britain after the Queen’s death.
Roberts indicated that the final decision to liquidate emerged amidst various challenges, including calendar conflicts, spiralling costs, and the impact of race cancellations during Covid. The lack of financial support from sponsors and partners, coupled with British Cycling’s insistence on full payment of licensing fees, compounded the difficulties.
With SweetSpot’s liquidation, the future of both the Women’s Tour and the Tour of Britain is uncertain. British Cycling, in a statement, assured efforts to ensure the continuation of these races in 2024 and beyond. However, without SweetSpot, the governing body now faces the task of finding new organisers for these premier British cycling events. Roberts lamented the end of an era, marking 20 years of effort in promoting British cycling, and expressed frustration over the lack of negotiation opportunities with British Cycling. The British cycling landscape now awaits the fate of its flagship races amidst these turbulent developments.
2023 saw the men’s Tour of Britain won by Wout van Aert whilst the last Women’s Tour to be held, in 2022, saw Elisa Longo Borghini win.