Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity claimed the value to the county would be “priceless” after what race organisers described as the “grandest Grand Tour” ever.
An estimated five million spectators came out to watch the opening two days of the world’s greatest cycle race, with legend Bernard Hinault admitting he had never seen crowds like it in 40 years.
Global TV pictures conveyed the full glory of Yorkshire’s scenery, from the Dales to historic York and the exhausting climb into Sheffield yesterday.
Verity, who had the original idea to bring the Tour to Yorkshire and who masterminded the bid that beat off competition from Barcelona, Edinburgh and Florence, said the event would have huge consequences for the county.
He said: “Our beautiful county has done itself proud once again.
“Undoubtedly, it will give a huge boost to the Yorkshire economy but it is the images of Yorkshire people, Yorkshire pride and Yorkshire’s outstanding landscapes beamed around the world which have been simply priceless for the county.
“It’s done a number of things for Yorkshire. There are people around the world who had never heard of Yorkshire or certainly didn’t know how beautiful it was – they do now.
“The riders loved it, the organisers have never seen anything as incredible. The director of the Tour de France said he thinks there have been up to five million people watching the race over the last two days and there were huge numbers in South Yorkshire yesterday. It’s been incredible.”
Welcome to Yorkshire anticipated a financial windfall of at least £100m for the county’s tourism industry as a result of the event.
Tour de France organiser Christian Prudhomme said Yorkshire’s Grand Depart had “raised the bar” for future hosts.
“When you said you would deliver the grandest Grand Départ of the Tour it was the truth. You have raised the bar for all future hosts of the Tour de France,” he said.
“I work for the Tour, but I also love the Tour, and I have seen that the people of Yorkshire love the Tour too. I can see the Tour in their hearts, and in their eyes. For that, I say thank you.
“Bernard Hinault said to me that it is the first time in 40 years on a bike that he has seen crowds like we saw this weekend.”