THERE are more than 1.5 million reasons why the Tour de Yorkshire is here to stay.
This is the conservative estimate of the number of people who supported a race that is established, after just two renewals, as one of the biggest in the calendar. Indeed, the vast crowds lining Sutton Bank were reminiscent of the Tour de France’s iconic Alpine stages.
Unlike local politics where co-operation between councils often leaves much to be desired, this race shows what it is possible when organisations pull in the same direction. Every community along the route took the race to their hearts and bedecked their streets with bikes, flags and bunting.
Of course there were disappointments. Sir Bradley Wiggins dropping out on day one, the lack of live TV coverage on Saturday after the aeroplane providing aerial pictures suffered technical gremlins and Lizzie Armitstead failing to win the women’s race from her home town of Otley to Doncaster were not in the script.
Yet the calculated decision to stage the most lucrative women’s race in history clearly paid off with Otley witnessing a sporting day to eclipse the demise of the New Zealand All Blacks in the town in 1979. Now the challenge is building on this so female riders can compete over two stages next year. Logistics mean this is only possible if the Tour de Yorkshire is extended to a fourth day. If anyone can make this happen, it is Sir Gary Verity.