Home » Tour of Britain saved as British Cycling secure ‘one of biggest deals in British sport’

Tour of Britain saved as British Cycling secure ‘one of biggest deals in British sport’

British Cycling has announced “one of the biggest deals in British sport in recent years” with Lloyds Bank becoming its new lead partner, effective immediately.

The “multi-year deal”, which is thought to be worth around £20 million over the next five years, secures the future of the men’s and women’s Tour of Britain, both of which were left in disarray at the end of last year following the collapse of previous promoter SweetSpot.

The deal comes after Lloyds received £1.2 billion, funded by Abu Dhabi-based RedBird IMI, that it was owed after it seized control of the Telegraph Media Group and put its titles up for sale following a dispute with the Barclay family.

Cycling’s national governing body has taken on the organisation of both events.

British Cycling’s chief executive, Jon Dutton, who has been in post for 12 months, described the partnership – signed last week – as a “game-changer” and “landmark” one for the organisation following some turbulent years.

British Cycling had been without a title partner since 2020 when HSBC decided to trigger a break clause midway through its eight-year sponsorship. HSBC had taken over from Sky at the start of 2017.

The body was already under huge pressure following various bullying and doping scandals. The pandemic then had a huge effect on finances. British Cycling was accused by environmental groups Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth of “brazen sports washing” after taking on a sponsorship deal with Shell in 2022. That eight-year deal continues, although Lloyds will be title partner of the Tour of Britain.

Dutton said on a media call that it was “difficult to compare” the value of the new title partnership with the last one. Much of HSBC’s investment was in delivery rather than straight cash. Over half a million people last year took part in their programmes HSBC UK Let’s Ride, HSBC UK Go Ride, HSBC UK Breeze and HSBC UK Ready Set Ride. But in terms of value it was thought the HSBC deal was worth roughly £8 million per year.

Either way, it secures the future of Britain’s two national tours, which had been in some doubt at the start of the year. The Tour of Britain women was reduced to four days this year, from June 6 to June 9, to make it more commercially viable. The intention is to grow it back to six days

Dutton admitted at the start of the year that it was a risk taking on the races. He said on Thursday that this deal “significantly mitigates” that risk, although he added that British Cycling was not out of the woods yet.

“There’s no crisis but we’re certainly not in rude health,” he said. “The situation when i came in 12 months ago was difficult. It is a very challenging commercial landscape. Financial sustainability [for British Cycling] will take a few years”.

As well as becoming title partner of the re-imagined Tour of Britain events – thought to be worth around £1 million a year – Lloyds will also back “a suite of pioneering new events that are part of British Cycling’s recently launched major events vision”.

“These brand-new events will include the delivery of an international urban cycling festival featuring BMX freestyle, and the development of a national track league concept, helping British Cycling to capitalise on the inspiration and success of the nation’s best riders.”

Lloyds Bank will also become the Title Partner of all British Cycling’s elite National Series and

National Championship events, and the Lloyds Bank logo will feature on the Great Britain Cycling Team kit.

In a statement, Dutton said: Dutton said: “As two British institutions, British Cycling and Lloyds Bank have a natural affinity and we share a commitment to supporting a more healthy, inclusive and prosperous Britain. In the last twelve months, a third of UK adults have ridden a bike and we want to see more people experiencing the joy of cycling.

“Through this partnership with Lloyds Bank, we can embark together on a journey to not only champion the sport but also harness its potential to deliver liberating experiences to families and communities nationwide. We are collectively committed to tackling social inequality and inspiring a nation to move together towards a healthier and more inclusive future.”

Olympic champion Katie Archibald added: “Starting with the Tour of Britain Women next month, I can’t wait to see the positive impact it will have from our communities through to elite level. I’m particularly excited about the development of a new national track league concept and look forward to hearing more.”