The chance to showcase North Yorkshire to a global audience by hosting today’s stage of the Tour of Britain cycle race will help heighten the county’s profile across the world and boost the economy, our leader has said.
The race, which is being staged across the country this week, is being broadcast in more than 150 countries, bringing the stunning scenery of North Yorkshire and the excitement of the prestigious sporting spectacle to millions of people.
The television audience for last year’s race grew by a third, with global viewing figures of more than 16 million, after it returned following a two-year absence due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Our leader, Cllr Carl Les, said he hoped that the event, which has been staged in the county for the first time in 13 years, would build on the success of other major sporting events in the region.
North Yorkshire was involved in staging the Tour de France’s Grand Départ in the Yorkshire and Humber region in 2014 as well as being on the routes for the subsequent Tour de Yorkshire cycle races, while Harrogate was also the host of the 2019 UCI Road World Championships.
Cllr Les said: “The hosting of today’s stage of the Tour of Britain has once again given us the chance to showcase North Yorkshire to millions of people across the world.
“So many people already know that North Yorkshire is a wonderful place to both live and visit, but to have the benefits of showing the county to such a big global television audience should not be under-estimated.
“The profile of North Yorkshire and the Yorkshire region as a whole has been raised so much by hosting previous major sporting events, and I am certain that this will be added to by staging the Tour of Britain here.
“Millions of television viewers will not only have been treated to the excitement of the race, but they will also have seen the stunning landscapes, towns and villages which North Yorkshire has to offer.
“This is an enviable position to be in to hopefully encourage more people to come and visit the county, and in turn to provide a welcome boost the economy.
“After the success of today’s Tour of Britain race, we remain committed to promoting the county and showing what a wonderful place it is – and also how we are able to host such memorable occasions.”
Independent research showed that the 2019 edition of the Tour de Yorkshire, which featured international cyclists in both men’s and women’s races, boosted the region’s economy by almost £60 million.
The 2019 race, which included Selby, Scarborough and Bedale as either start or finish points, saw 1.96 million spectators lining the routes over the four days of action.
An economic impact study, conducted by an independent research company, GRASP, and compiled by Leeds Beckett University, found the overall income generated by the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire was £59,852,029.
Stage four of the Tour of Britain began today in Redcar and then passed through Whitby before heading into the North York Moors National Park. The final 30 kilometres featured the demanding climbs of Carlton Bank and Newgate Bank before descending to the finish line at Duncombe Park at Helmsley.
The stage was won by Gonzalo Serrano in a thrilling sprint finish involving a four-cyclist breakaway, with Leeds-born Tom Pidcock in second place, Dylan Teuns coming in third position and Omar Fraile in fourth.
In addition to becoming the first Spaniard to win a stage of the UK’s leading cycle race in 10 years, Serrano has now secured the Tour of Britain leader’s jersey, with both Pidcock and Fraile trailing by seven seconds.
Speaking after winning the stage in North Yorkshire, Serrano said: “It is beautiful, even if it has rained every day so far. But it has been perfect, and I like it here a lot.”
Thousands of spectators lined the route through North Yorkshire, and business owners spoke of the benefits they had already witnessed from the staging of the Tour of Britain.
Paul Dudley, the front of house at Sadlers Café and Bistro in Stokesley, said: “The benefits for Stokesley and businesses in the area is the fact it will bring more people in.
“It is giving a really nice atmosphere, and we have had decking outside to give a more continental feel so people can eat either inside or outside. (The race) really is fantastic for the area.”
Kyle Boote is the owner of Helmsley Brewing Co, which has been based in the North Yorkshire market town since 2014 and employs seven staff.
Mr Boote said: “Events like this bring people in who perhaps wouldn’t have come to Helmsley. It’s really positive as a business owner and as a local.”
Among those spectators who had travelled to witness the Tour of Britain were keen cyclist Colin Broadbank with his wife, Joan, from Knaresborough.
They were close to the finish line at Duncombe Park, and had driven up to Durham for stage three of the race before watching the riders setting off from Redcar earlier today.
The couple said they had chatted to other spectators from across the country who had commented on how beautiful North Yorkshire is, and Mr Broadbank added: “Why wouldn’t they? It’s stunning.”
This year’s Tour of Britain started in Aberdeen on Sunday, and the race will finish on the Isle of Wight on Sunday this weekend.
ITV4 is broadcasting live flag-to-flag coverage of every stage and a nightly highlights show, and the race is also being shown in more than 150 countries worldwide, through the event's partnerships with Eurosport and the Global Cycling Network.
The existing tourism industry in the Yorkshire and Humber region is worth £9bn a year, and 224,000 workers are employed in the sector.