There can be no doubt that the people of Yorkshire have taken the spectacle of professional cycling to heart, and this weekend offered yet further proof of such glowing sentiments.
Despite frequently changeable weather conditions, an estimated two million-plus spectators lined the route of the second Tour de Yorkshire over the course of the weekend, an event which is forecast to be worth at least £50m to the region’s economy.
An unlucky broadcasting malfunction robbed much of Saturday’s action of television coverage but roadside support made the race another grand showcase of a region that continues to prove its credentials for hosting major events.
After Friday’s 185km first stage between Beverley and Settle, the elite cyclists raced 136km from Otley to Doncaster on Saturday before a final 198km between Middlesbrough and Scarborough today - with the latter offering some of the most scenic roads and challenging peaks as the route wound through the North York Moors and through picture-postcard seaside towns.
The final leg featured six ‘King of the Mountain’ climbs - the infamous Sutton Bank for one.
For all the feel-good factor generated by onlookers there is regret that on day two a television blackout deprived others of the chance to enjoy first-class competitive action on West Yorkshire’s roads.
A malfunction in the television relay plane - one that left the blameless organisers desperately scrambling for spare parts from Paris - meant there were no images from the women’s event in the morning, and limited coverage of the men’s race on Saturday afternoon.
Such misfortune was harsh on those who had put so much effort into producing another great spectacle of cycling, and unfair on the towns and villages more than worthy of their moment in front of the cameras.
Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said his emotions had never changed so much in 24 hours due to the broadcasting issue but that it did not ruin a “fantastic” three days.
“It’s been a really warm reception from massive crowds and it unites communities,” he Sir Gary said. “There is not a lot that I can think of that brings people from all walks of life, of all age groups, standing at the roadside united by something as positive as this.
“And it’s very important for the Yorkshire economy. Last year’s event put into the economy, just from the weekend, around £50m. A similar analysis will be done this time and it will be at least that figure.”
The race was won overall by Frenchman Thomas Voeckler.