Doubts over cycling World Championships route after floods lead to Grinton bridge collapse

Comparison shows the damaged bridge (above) and (below) the Tour de France peloton riding over it in 2014. Credit: Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team / PA Images

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 onGrinton 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 September 29, it would appear highly unlikely it could be repaired in time.

In a statement, Yorkshire 2019 chief executive Andy Hindley said the firstpriority had to be for local residents cut off by the bridge collapse.

"At the current time, our thoughts are with those affected by the flooding,"the statement said.

"We will address any damage to race routes with North Yorkshire County Council in due course."

The peloton riding over the bridge on Grinton Moor during the 2014 Tour de France. Credit: Tim Goode/PA Wire

Grinton Moor was the scene of some of the most famous images from the Grand Depart of the Tour de France five years ago, 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 is the final event of the week-long world championships, which will run from September 22-29.