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What a great sporting event for the first Bank Holiday in May: the first ever Tour de Yorkshire!

Tour de France enthusiasts will recall that the 2014 Grand Départ took place in this beautiful English county for the very first time. It was so successful that planning quickly began for a short three-day race in 2015.

The Tour de Yorkshire planners did a marvellous job in attracting sponsors, teams, television coverage and an official artist.

The race was televised in more than 100 countries around the world. In the UK, ITV4 and Eurosport carried both live coverage as well as highlights. We watched ITV4, whose commentators and former riders — Chris Boardman and David Millar — did a great job of bringing the race to life. Millar, in particular, did a star turn in giving us a younger rider’s perspective on what today’s races are like. He was a welcome addition and we hope that he will be a regular in the Tour de France commentary team this year.

The stages reprised part of last year’s Grand Départ route. Stage 1 began in Bridlington and ended in Scarborough, via the North York Moors. Stage 2 started in Selby and ended in York, one of the cities in last year’s Tour. The final stage began in Wakefield and ended in Leeds, also in the 2014 Tour.

Eighteen teams took part. Each had eight riders. The 2012 Tour de France champion Sir Bradley Wiggins formed his own eponymous team. He placed 59th, and told ITV4 that the course was ‘very hard, very hard’ work.

Team Sky’s Lars Petter Nordhaug was the overall winner.

The Tour de Yorkshire generated the same enthusiasm among spectators that the Tour de France did last year. A quarter of a million turned out for Stage 1. Stage 2 attracted 450,000 bystanders. Stage 3 saw between 500,000 and 750,000 lining parts of the route.

The BBC reported:

Race organiser Gary Verity said: “This has exceeded all our expectations.

“To get so many people out to see the first ever Tour de Yorkshire is incredible. I cannot thank the people of Yorkshire enough for their support.”

Even Prime Minister David Cameron managed to catch some of the action, visiting the village of Addingham, near Ilkley, in a break from election campaigning.

Let’s hope another Tour de Yorkshire will take place in 2016!

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