Up to 1.5 million people turn out for Tour de Yorkshire

Tour de Yorkshire, Hebden Bridge. The peloton on Keighley Road, hebden Bridge centre.
Tour de Yorkshire, Hebden Bridge. The peloton on Keighley Road, hebden Bridge centre.

The first ever Tour de Yorkshire has ridden into the history books after a momentous three days of racing.

One and a half million fans at the roadside and TV audiences in more than 150 countries witnessed some of Yorkshire’s finest scenery, with crowds at key points in the race comparable with the Tour de France.

Initial spectator figures from police and race organisers show that on Stage One, 250,000 people watched by the roadside, followed by 450,000 on Stage Two and 750,000 on Stage Three.

Now, organisers are already looking ahead to next year’s race.

Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said “Once again we’ve seen staggering crowds provide a rousing welcome for these incredible riders.

“We thank the people of Yorkshire and the riders, the crowds, the Tour Makers, the ASO and our team at Welcome to Yorkshire should be immensely proud of the weekend’s achievements.

“I salute each of the 144 riders in the men’s race and 98 in the women’s, and the 6,000 who took on the sportive.”

Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France, added: “It was an emotional return to Yorkshire, who did of course put on the grandest of all the grand Départs last year.

“This was again a special moment, an historic three days and a great advert for cycling and the passion and the heart that Yorkshire has for the sport.”

Police also praised the fantastic atmosphere created by an early estimate of around three quarters of a million spectators on the third and final day of the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire.

West Yorkshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Mark Milsom, who commanded the police operation on Sunday, said: “Despite a somewhat wet start to the day the crowds exceeded all expectations and provided the final stage of this exclusively Yorkshire event with an unparalleled atmosphere.

“At the present time we haven’t taken one report of a crime related to the policing operation today and that speaks volumes of the good natured atmosphere created by spectators who’ve lined the route in their thousands.”

The Tour de Yorkshire will return in May next year on a new route with new start and finish towns.