This was a spectacular that provided an unrivalled showcase for our county to the world, with the pictures of riders speeding through magnificent countryside being seen by a global audience.
There can be no doubt that the majestic landscapes caught on aerial footage and the picture-postcard villages through which the peloton sped tempted many to visit Yorkshire, not only from within Britain, but from many other countries, providing a hugely valuable boost to our region’s tourism economy.
Equally beyond doubt is that the Tour inspired many to take up cycling. There are more bikes on Yorkshire’s roads now than before the county became a world centre of excellence for elite competition with the staging of the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014.
This is the most welcome of developments, improving riders’ health and fitness, as well as fostering a renewed appreciation of the glories of our countryside. Whatever the fate of the Tour, Yorkshire’s enthusiasm for cycling will certainly continue to grow.
The unforgiving financial circumstances that have forced the cancellation of the Tour cannot be avoided. The pandemic’s impact on the economy, pressure on local authority budgets and the difficulties that have beset Welcome to Yorkshire combined to make the decision as inevitable as it is regrettable.Yet it should be pointed out that the Tour arguably represented good value for the benefits it delivered. Its cost of £2.2m equates to only 50p for every resident of the county.
And that, perhaps, provides hope for the future. As the economy recovers from Covid over the next year, it may be that Yorkshire is once again able to stage the Tour and capitalise on its global popularity.