BUSINESSES in a North Yorkshire town say they are preparing to make the most of opportunities this autumn, as the county prepares to welcome the equivalent of the cycling world cup.

The UCI Road World Championships are set to arrive in North Yorkshire on September 22, preceded for the first time by the Yorkshire 2019 Para-Cycling International on September 21, a qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

The nine-day event will see approximately 1,400 athletes from 90 different countries arrive in the region, along with support teams, journalists and other visitors from across the UK and overseas.

Road races will start from different towns across Yorkshire, with each day’s racing finishing in Harrogate, with all except one using the same Harrogate road circuit.

Many businesses in Harrogate are already planning to make the most of the opportunities presented by the event by planning deliveries and staffing rotas well in advance.

Simon Cotton is managing director of HRH group, which owns the Fat Badger pub and two hotels on the race circuit, both of which are fully booked on key dates throughout the championships. They include the Yorkshire Hotel, which sits near the finish line.

He said: “This September will be a very exciting time for Harrogate and Yorkshire. People will be coming here, spending their money locally, staying in hotels and restaurants and seeing what a beautiful area this is to visit.

“The focus is on these nine days of racing, but I’m particularly excited about the ongoing, longer-term picture.

“There will be potentially hundreds of millions of people seeing what a beautiful place this is and hopefully coming to see us in the future - it’s a fantastic opportunity for local businesses.

“Harrogate is a busy place all year round, particularly in summer and late summer, but this is a unique opportunity and we shall certainly be making hay while the sun shines and inviting other businesses to do the same.”

Simon Cotton said they will be planning ahead to ensure staffing and deliveries remain unaffected by the road closures.

Chris Mason, manager of the Turkish Baths Harrogate said they were also looking forward to making the most of the championships: “We think this will be a fantastic event,” he said.

“It will bring a real boost to the local economy, as well as bringing a lot of trade into the town. The championships will create a lasting legacy by bringing more visitors back to our historic and beautiful town.”

The race will attract thousands of international and national visitors, with an additional 250 million viewers worldwide expected to watch the event.

Rolling road closures will be largely used on the race routes through North Yorkshire, but due to the nature of racing on the Harrogate circuit time trial routes, and the Yorkshire 2019 Para Cycling International, fixed road closures will be in place to maintain safety.

Closures will generally be in place from about two hours before the first rider is due, with dedicated vehicle crossing points at selected locations open until about 30 minutes before the first rider. The roads will be reopened as soon as it is safe to do so after the last rider has passed.

Elsewhere in North Yorkshire, the road race events will be subject to rolling road closures similar to those used during the Tour de Yorkshire, where roads are closed by police outriders typically for no longer than an hour. In some locations longer closures will be in place, such as start points, busier towns and some climbs.