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"Just incredible" - Gary Verity hails huge support for Tour de Yorkshire

700,000 turn out on opening two days as Yorkshire folk become "the new Belgians"...

Gary Verity, the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, has been told the region’s inhabitants are ‘the new Belgians’ when it comes to supporting cycling, with almost three quarters of a million people turning out over the opening two days of the race.

Verity, who brought the Grand Depart of the Tour de France to Yorkshire last July, was paid the compliment by the owner of one of the teams competing in this week’s inaugural edition of Tour de Yorkshire, which concludes today.

Huge crowds have greeted the riders from Friday’s start in Bridlington through yesterday’s stage into York, and a wet morning in Wakefield failed to dampen the enthusiasm of locals who turned out in their thousands to cheer the riders on as they began today’s concluding stage to Leeds.

There was massive support too on climbs such as the Cow & Calf and Chevin that peppered the route of today's stage.

Speaking to in Wakefield just before the start of the stage, Verity said: “For the first edition of a new race, there’s been huge crowds, just incredible.

“We’ve had three great stages, the first stage was a lot tougher than people thought, they.  Today’s a more brutal stage, with short but tough climbs, and we’re expecting big crowds.

“We’ve had 700,000 on the roadside for the previous two days, according to police. I went to their briefing this morning and they’re expecting an even bigger number today, so it’ll be great.

“The weather has passed over and we’re on for a great day’s racing.”

Along the route of the race, towns and villages are festooned with bicycles painted blue and yellow, the race’s signature colours, as well as bunting in similar hues, while shops, pubs and restaurants have also embraced the race.

Asked about the support shown by locals for the new race, Verity said: "One of the team owners said to me yesterday morning at breakfast, ‘You are the new Belgians,’ which is a great compliment in the cycling world and we’re very happy with that.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Northernbike | 8 years ago

I heard a few comments in commentary and interviews comparing this event to Belgian races but that was discussing the terrain and weather so if the comparison has been applied to enthusiasm for cycling then that is praise indeed

purely | 8 years ago

Well said! That was a pretty tough sportive (IMHO) not least thanks to the awful weather at the start. Seeing 100s of people out cheering on us amateurs was simply brilliant. Can't wait til next year.

Yorkshie Whippet | 8 years ago

Not sure if any of you are reading this but heart felt thanks to the thousands that braved the shocking weather to cheer the sportive
. Hope to see you all next year.

gmillard replied to Yorkshie Whippet | 8 years ago

What a fantastic effort by all of you. I was on the Cow and Calf cheering you on, and I know how tough that climb is after just 15k riding, never mind however far you had ridden by then! Great ride.

PonteD | 8 years ago

Peeved I missed it! I had an audax on Saturday, then car broke on the way home, so instead spent Sunday figuring out what was wrong with the car.

On the upside it does mean I have to cycle in every day next week (heavy rain and 40mph winds forecast for Tuesday!, just hope it's blowing enough in the right direction).

Must be Mad | 8 years ago

Well done Yorkshire - Top job. Love the 'small roads'. Thats the way to go racing, and they look like they are great to ride on as well.

I would have loved to have all this 'down' in my local patch .. but the people of Yorkshire grabbed the initiative, and should be congratulated.

Gourmet Shot | 8 years ago

I wonder how many of those 700k have shouted abuse out of their car windows on my daily commute ;0)

phillyd | 8 years ago

First comment, and Ill start the ball rolling by saying "Well done Yorkshire, you looked amazing."

Tight roads and changeable weather PLUS no race radios made for a great first edition of the race.

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