Organisers keen to secure a long-term future for tour de Yorkshire

Organisers are keen to secure a long-term future for the Tour de Yorkshire while insisting the postponed 2020 edition - the last on the current contract will eventually go ahead even if the coronavirus outbreak forces them to wait until next year.

On Tuesday Welcome To Yorkshire and the Amaury Sports Organisation announced this year's race, due to take place from April 30 to May 3, would be postponed, raising questions over the Tour's future as the deal ran down.But both parties are treating it as a contract for one further race, not one final year, and will wait as long as necessary.

Welcome To Yorkshire chief executive James Mason said:

At the route announcement in January, Mason had described this as a "pivotal" year for the Tour, saying a race that routinely attracts millions of fans needed to prove its value before he committed to extending the deal.

But speaking on Thursday Mason struck a more upbeat tone, saying "positive" talks have taken place with ASO.

"We want a continuation of this race," Mason said.

"We want this to be a permanent fixture on the sporting calendar of Yorkshire for many years to come."

And if this was to be a "pivotal" year, Mason suggested the postponement of the race could actually help the argument in favour of it.

"Absence may make the heart grow fonder," he said.