Hugh Roberts, founder of SweetSpot, and Race Director Mick Bennett, have announced their retirement at the end of 2023, drawing a close to their 20-year tenure leading the organisation behind The Tour of Britain and Women’s Tour cycle races. Since founding SweetSpot in 2003, Roberts and Bennett have been instrumental in the creation and growth of the modern Tour of Britain, which began in 2004. Under their guidance, the event has expanded from a five-day affair to an eight-day spectacle on the UCI ProSeries calendar, earning a reputation as one of the world’s most prestigious stage races and a staple in the UK’s sporting schedule.
Their achievements also include the inception of The Women’s Tour in 2014, now a benchmark in the UCI Women’s WorldTour, and the establishment of The Tour Series in 2009. This latter series has enjoyed 13 seasons, featuring over 120 televised events in British town and city centres. Additionally, Roberts and Bennett played a key role in creating Ride London, an Olympic legacy event, in collaboration with the team at London Marathon Events.
Between 2004 and 2023, the duo oversaw more than 180 stages of the men’s Tour of Britain and Women’s Tour across the UK. Leading a SweetSpot team with a combined 150 years of experience, they have been pivotal in organising some of Britain’s most notable professional cycling events, including the successful delivery of road race elements for the UCI World Championships in Glasgow.
Their uninterrupted run of annual events, including the Tour of Britain, Women’s Tour, and Tour Series, was significantly disrupted in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. The passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2022 brought an abrupt end to the Tour of Britain, with the final three stages cancelled. Furthermore, they have faced challenges in 2023 due to inflationary pressures, the cost of living crisis, and local government funding issues.
Over the past two decades, the free-to-attend Tours organised by Roberts, Bennett, and their team have attracted millions of roadside spectators and ITV viewers. They have served as an inspiration for school children participating in support activities and have provided a platform for British riders to compete against the world’s best on home roads. Roberts and Bennett’s retirement marks the end of an era for SweetSpot and British professional cycling, leaving a legacy of innovation and growth in the sport.
The likes of Kasia Niewiadoma, Demi Vollering and Elisa Longo Borghini all won the Women’s Tour. Wout van Aert, Mathieu van der Poel and Julian Alaphilippe all won the Tour of Britain in recent years.