EAST Yorkshire welcomed back the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire, which wound its way across the region today.
Stage two of the sporting extravaganza got underway in Selby at 11.45am and the peloton passed through a number of villages, including Bubwith and Holme-on-Spalding Moor, before making its way to Market Weighton.
Hundreds of excited spectators lined the streets of the town to welcome the Tour. Market Weighton town centre was decked out in yellow and blue bunting, as well as Yorkshire and Union Jack flags for the event.
Beverley brought the elite cyclists close up and personal with adoring spectators as the peloton snaked its way through the historic town’s tight streets.
The elite riders then travelled through Cherry Burton, Etton, Lund, Bainton and Tibthorpe
The riders followed this with a sprint stage in Wetwang and then travelled through Ryedale before heading to the finish line in York, via Stamford Bridge.
Ken Smith, 64, of Medford Street, Market Weighton, said: “Market Weighton really needs things like this to make more people come to the town. It can only help businesses and increase the profile of the town.
Irene Bennett, 61, of Goodmanham, added: “It’s really good for the East Riding. There is a brilliant turnout. A lot of people have been talking about it. A lot of people have gone out with their decorations and got into the spirit of it all.”
Residents brought out garden furniture in the village of Bainton, near Driffield, where a traditional silver send-off was given to the competitors as they made their way though the rolling Wolds of East Yorkshire.
Following a very quick section from Beverley, through the picturesque villages of Cherry Burton, Etton and Lund, the riders were met by the Driffield Silver Band, who played on a grassy area close to the B1248.
All the riders would have been instantly aware of the welcome as they came down the hill into the village and would have given them a boost ahead of the Wetwang Sprint and the Cote de Fimber as the race headed back into North Yorkshire.
The Parish Council of Wetwang had ordered more than 300 hand-held flags and 50 huge flags, which were fastened onto houses on the A166, to celebrate the occasion.
Following the testing route yesterday from Bridlington to Scaroborough, the riders looked to be enjoying the undulating terrain and were eating up the miles.
Andy Grace, the conductor of Driffield Silver band, said: “We felt it was really important that we got right behind the Tour and show that we really wanted it to come through our area.
“Hopefully it will come back again and it becomes an annual event.”
The group decided to take on the challenge after being inspired by the Tour.
Community leaders in Market Weighton have praised the impact the Tour de Yorkshire has had on the town:
Market Weighton Town Team member and newsagent Lionel Cashin, owner of The Paper Shop in Market Weighton, said: “Everyone has been talking about it. It’s something people will remember for the rest of their lives.”
“I’ve never seen so many people on the High Street.”
Market Weighton deputy mayor, councillor Peter Hemmerman, said: “It’s good that it’s bringing people together.
“There is a real buzz about the town. It is a great event for the town.”
Meanwhile, the Mayor of Beverley, Councillor Paul McGrath said: “The town was really busy as expected.One thing for certain, the viewing areas to see the Tour de Yorkshire cyclists would have been second to none. Beverley is an easy place to watch these type of event, as we have experienced in the past.
“When you actually see the riders close up you really appreciate how fast they are going and how close they are together. It’s an amazing spectacle.”
Andy Grace, conductor of the Driffield Silver Band, who played at Bainton during the race, said: “We took the decision to go and play there so any spectators could be entertained while they are waiting for the riders.Hopefully it will show to the organisers that the area is supporting the event and then they are more likely to come back in the future.”
Hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the country and abroad had travelled to line the route between Selby and the finishing line in York.
Spectators in York were treated to a full day of sporting entertainment, as the women’s race took in four laps of a 20km circuit through the city during Saturday morning.
But York’s Knavesmire saw the climax to the race.
The crowds were five-deep at the finish line, and among those who had travelled to see Dutch rider Moreno Hofland triumph in a thrilling sprint
The Dutchman won the 174km-stage from Selby to York, earning the first win of the season for his Lotto-Jumbo team.
The standings for stage two are:
1. Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor/Team Sky) 8hrs 20mins 26secs
2. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Sp/BMC Racing) +10secs
3. Thomas Voeckler (Fra/Europcar) same time
4. Stephane Rossetto (Fra/Cofidis) +12secs
5. Philip Deignan (Ire/Team Sky) +16secs
6. Anthony Turgis (Fra/Cofidis) +1min 18secs
7. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel/BMC Racing) + 1min 20secs
8. Erick Rowsell (GB/ Madison Genesis) Same time
9. Ben Hermans (Ger/BMC) + 1min 23secs
9. Richard Handley (GB/JLT Condor) + 1min 26secs