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Tour de Yorkshire leads to Thirsk and Wetherby fixture swap



Officials at Thirsk and Wetherby have agreed to swap fixtures in May to avoid a clash with the Tour de Yorkshire.

Organisers have announced that stage three of the cycling event will be routed directly through the centre of Thirsk on Saturday, May 5, the same day as the racecourse was due to hold a Flat meeting.

With that now deemed impractical, the British Horseracing Authority has agreed to move the card to Wetherby, with a scheduled Wetherby fixture on May 8 going in the other direction.

The Saturday programme at Wetherby remains fully sponsored by Totepool and the conditions of the feature race, the £40,000 Totepool Hunt Cup, will be unaffected by the switch.

Thirsk's general manager and clerk of the course James Sanderson said: "The 2018 Tour de Yorkshire route was announced in December and, to our utter dismay, we immediately spotted that the peloton would be coming directly through Thirsk town centre on an already busy Saturday raceday, thus necessitating the closure of several key roads through peak arrival time to the racecourse.

"The Tour de Yorkshire is a very successful regional event, attended by thousands the length and breadth of its route; it is a legacy of the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart that was staged in Yorkshire.

"While we obviously wish the organisers every success with their 2018 event overall, it is extremely frustrating that they should wait until December, 2017, to finalise and announce their route, which would have clashed horrendously with our planned raceday.

"Thanks to some much-appreciated help from the Wetherby Racecourse team and the BHA, we have now agreed to transfer the scheduled Thirsk fixture on Saturday, May 5, to Wetherby, where it can be accommodated on Yorkshire's most recently created Flat track, which has already proved to be a big hit with horsemen over the past three years.

"The important thing is the Saturday fixture can take place at Wetherby without being disrupted by the Tour de Yorkshire event.

"In turn, the Flat fixture that was originally scheduled at Wetherby on Tuesday, May 8, 2018, will happen at Thirsk."

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