Cycling’s Road World Championships could return to Britain for the first time in 37 years in 2019, with Leeds the most likely host.
A bid for the week-long event was mentioned in Chancellor George Osborne’s spending review in November.
The bid can only come through British Cycling, and the governing body has been told government funding will only be available for a Yorkshire event.
A decision on whether to bid for the championships must be made by June.
The BBC has learned British Cycling wants to combine hosting the championships with a big push on improving facilities for cycling.
The plan is to build a closed racing circuit near every major British city – something British Cycling believes it could do with £50m of support, the same figure the Football Association was given by the Treasury in 2014 to invest in modern, artificial pitches.
The government, however, is offering just £10m to improve facilities.
British Cycling has also been told any government funding for the event is contingent on it being held in 2019, the year before the next General Election.
For its part, the International Cycling Union (UCI) would be very open to an offer from Leeds, having seen the success of the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart and its legacy race, the Tour de Yorkshire.
Goodwood was the last British host of the UCI’s premier event in 1982, with Leicester providing the venue in 1970 and Liverpool in 1922.
This year’s event is in Doha, Qatar, before visits to Bergen in Norway and Austria’s Innsbruck.