Banking firm Lloyds comes with multi-milion offer to save British Cycling from its downfall

British Cycling has agreed a multi-million sponsorship with banking firm Lloyds that it described that could lead the sport in country to brighter tomorrow, after the local half-professional scene nearly died out in the last few years.

However, British Cycling chief executive Jon Dutton said: "This is game-changing for British Cycling and we understand it is one of the biggest deals in British sport in the last two years."

"It takes the pressure off the whole of the organisation, but it doesn't mean to say we are taking our foot off the gas - far from it," added Dutton. "This is only the start of a bright future and a bold step forward."

The women's Tour of Britain takes place from 6 June and runs over four stages, after being cancelled last year because of financial problems. The women's World Tour race in particular is significant, as it has previously paid its winners the same as the men's race, and will again this year, proportionately to the number of stages.

"We have made a big commitment to our prize money in the Tour of Britain women this year," said Dutton. "Next year we will run both Tours of Britain with exactly the same number of stages and the riders treated exactly the same way."

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