The Milk Marketing Board (MMB) was a sales monopoly for dairy farmers in England and Wales. A semi-professional cyclist from Derby, Dave Orford, asked the MMB to pay for "Drink more milk" to be embroidered on the jersey of every semi-professional, or independent, rider in the country.
Orford met the MMB's publicist officer, Reg Pugh, at the board's headquarters in Thames Distton, west of London. Orford said: "At the end of the discussion he stated that the MMB would prefer to sponsor a major international marathon. So the Milk Race, the Tour of Britain, was born, starting in 1958 and lasting for 35 years, the longest cycle sponsorship in the UK ever."
The first two races were open to semi-professionals but from 1960 until 1984 it was open only to amateurs. From 1985 until 1993 the Milk Race was open to both amateurs and professionals. After 1993 the Milk Race ended as the MMB was wound up because of European monopoly laws.