Organisers of the Road World Championships in Yorkshire seem certain to be forced to change the route of the men’s elite road race after a bridge on Grinton Moor was washed away by floodwaters. Pictures released by the Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team show that Grinton Moor Bridge has collapsed, leaving the road completely impassable.
Organisers of the world championships are due to visit the site on Wednesday to assess the damage, but with less than two months until the race on 29 September, it would appear unlikely it could be repaired in time.
In a statement, Yorkshire 2019 chief executive Andy Hindley said the first priority had to be for local residents cut off by the bridge collapse. He said: “At the current time, our thoughts are with those affected by the flooding. We will address any damage to race routes with North Yorkshire County Council in due course.”
Grinton Moor was the scene of some of the most famous images from the Grand Départ of the Tour de France in 2014, and the route of the elite men’s road race was designed to echo the opening stage.
Starting in Leeds, the route takes in both the Buttertubs climb near Hawes and Grinton Moor before looping back south to the finishing circuit in Harrogate. The elite men’s road race, won last year by Alejandro Valverde, is the final event of the week-long world championships, which will run from 22-29 September.