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The director of the Tour of Britain race is pointing to Brexit and a shortage of funding as reasons for criticism being received.

The organizers of the race are citing Brexit and financial difficulties as the reason for the criticism of the recent Tour of Britain. Critics have deemed it “dull” due to the monotonous, level stages and the noticeable lack of participants in this year’s event.

According to race director Mick Bennett, Britain’s departure from the European Union resulted in a smaller peloton for the race that ended on Sunday, with Wout van Aert claiming victory. Bennett explained to Cycling Weekly that only 96 riders began the race in Altrincham last week, attributing the reduced number to Brexit.

“Let me provide an illustration,” he stated. “Recently, some teams participating in the world championships [in Glasgow] spent five hours getting their vehicles and technical teams through customs at Dover. This occurred just three weeks ago. They thought, ‘Wait a minute. This isn’t worth it.’ As a result, they decided not to participate, solely due to Brexit.”

Some people online were also unhappy with the lack of variety in the stages, including cycling expert and former British champion Brian Smith who shared his thoughts on ‘X’ (formerly known as Twitter) after Olav Kooij won four stages in a row: “Two more flat stages in the Tour of Britain…can we just skip ahead, give Kooij the next two stages, and finally see some exciting racing?”

The Jumbo-Visma team won all five relatively flat stages at the beginning of the Tour, which caused dissatisfaction among numerous cycling enthusiasts. Bennett expressed his frustration with the constant criticism and chose to ignore it. He particularly took issue with those involved in the sport who criticized the perceived shortcomings of this Tour, stating that it was frustrating to be criticized by those who believe cycling is solely for their entertainment.

Tour of Britain winner Wout van Aert rides past race director Mick Bennett (right).

Bennett expressed frustration with the amount of negative feedback, stating that it was difficult to listen to. He further explained that he found it unbearable because others did not comprehend the larger context in which they were operating. Due to the challenging economic circumstances, local governments are facing a shortage of funds from both national and local sources. As a result, they may choose to allocate their resources to other areas, which is understandable.

The lack of a race sponsor caused financial difficulties for the Tour of Britain, as their previous sponsor AJ Bell withdrew their support from the event in the previous year.

Source: theguardian.com