Two of last summer’s most popular events will be missing from Louth’s calendar this year - which could have a big impact on the area’s economy.
The professional ‘Tour of the Wolds’ cycling competition saw dozens of big names from the world of cycling come to Louth and the surrounding countryside last April, drawing in thousands of keen spectators and generating an estimated quarter-of-a-million pounds for the regional economy.
However, as this was a pilot event, no arrangements were made for the frequency of the event to return in the future.
One of the key organisers of the Tour of the Wolds, Peter Odam from Event Delivery Solutions, said: “The Tour of the Wolds hasn’t been listed in the British Cycling Spring Cup series this coming year.
“British Cycling remains keen on the Wolds as a venue, and we will be working with British Cycling to try and secure the event for 2019.
“It’s true to say costs have increased, and hosting the event will depend on the sponsorship that can be raised, but this is something we’ll be looking to discuss with potential funding partners over the coming months.”
When asked why the Wolds had not been chosen as a venue this year, Mr Odam continued: “Last year was a pilot event, and at that point we’d not agreed the frequency that we’d try to host the Tour of the Wolds.
“We did have some discussions with British Cycling for an event this year, but those discussions have only recently concluded, which doesn’t provide enough time for the significant event planning process associated with delivering such a large scale event of this kind.
“As such, rather than deliver a below par event for some of the country’s most high profile professional cyclists, we opted to focus our efforts on the planning to deliver a first-class event in 2019.”
Gary Denniss, chair of Louth Independent Traders, said it was a ‘shame’ that such a great event was being put on hold this year - particularly for local coffee shops and pubs - but added he was ‘optimistic’ the Tour of the Wolds would return in 2019.
The good news is that the Tour of the Wolds ‘sportive’ - the amateur cycling event which took place the day before the professional event last year - will ‘definitely be going ahead’, according to organiser Ian Penrose from ITP events.
However, as a double blow for the town, the annual Louth Bike Night will no longer be running after five successful years.
Liz Shaw of the Louth and District Lions who previously ran the event, said the juggling of the increased workload on the already stretched volunteers and the added costs are becoming too much for the local group to carry it on.
She said: “It’s a sad decision we have had to make, but feel the Bike Night is just a stretch too far with significantly increasing costs, guidelines, red tape and paper work we have to adhere to, ensuring we make the event safe.”
The Lions would like to thank the local businesses and the public who have supported them over the last five years.