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Tour de Yorkshire pulls in over two million spectators

Tour de Yorkshire pulls in over two million spectators

Published at 9:25am 2nd May 2016. (Updated at 1:15pm 3rd May 2016)

Cyclists and organisers of the Tour de Yorkshire say they have been overwhelmed by the "stunning" support for this year's race.

Over two million spectators cheered on the riders who started in Beverley and finished in Scarborough.

Race winner Thomas Voeckler (pictured) said the support "makes me want to come back next year!" and compared it to racing in a stage of Tour de France.

Thomas, from Team Direct Energie, added: "When you see all the crowds on the road, I am sure that in 20 to 30 years there will still be a Tour de Yorkshire, so I am really happy that my name is on the winners' list."

Nathan Haas, from Team Dimension Data, who won the King of the Mountains jersey, called for the race to grow bigger than a 2:1 classification, as well as thanking organisers and the "great crowds".

He said: “As a team, we are privileged to be part of an event as incredible as this and have fans as engaged as they are."

Yorkshire was transformed into a sea of blue and yellow for the second edition of the race.

Christian Prudhomme said: "There have been huge crowds, huge enthusiastic crowds who respect the riders. The Tour de Yorkshire is on the podium for being one of the best bike races in the world and for me the best public for cycling in the world.

"The people of Yorkshire have passion and pride. I love what the Tour de Yorkshire has done for children who are watching this on the route and at the start and finish lines. These are memories that those children will never forget.

"The passion is growing and growing and Yorkshire is fast becoming the heartland of cycling.”

The last day saw an exciting start in Middlesbrough, as riders faced the toughest stage yet over 198km.

The peloton raced through places including Northallerton and Thirsk which were full of cheering spectators.

Sutton Bank was the first of six categorised climbs and saw crowds as big as any mountain stage on the Tour de France.

The race came down to a game of cat and mouse from 5km to go, with Nicolas Roche (Team Sky) and Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) storming into Scarborough.

With less than 1km to go, Voeckler made his move and outsprinted Roche to cross the line first and secure the overall title.

Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: "Yorkshire is the true winner. The way the people of Yorkshire have taken this race to their hearts is overwhelming.

"The county is fast becoming the capital of cycling and that is down to the incredible support from communities who have turned out in their droves. Yorkshire, you should be proud!"

Tour de Yorkshire

A packed Thirsk town centre