IF ever there is event to get British cycling back on track after a scandal-hit week of discrimination allegations and negative headlines, it is the Tour de Yorkshire which began yesterday.
The tens of thousands of cheering spectators who provided the warmest of welcomes on the coldest of days did not let down the sport – or that force of nature Sir Gary Verity who has brought the world’s best riders to this great county.
Cycling’s ability to appeal to all sections of society is exemplified by the three biggest names competing in Yorkshire this weekend.
There’s Sir Bradley Wiggins, the sport’s talisman and first British winner of the Tour de France. There’s Lizzie Armitstead, the current world champion who is banking on home town support when the women’s race starts in Otley.
And there’s Dame Sarah Storey, one of this country’s most decorated Paralympians.
Having come so far in such a short space of time, it’s imperative that British Cycling maintains the positive momentum in Yorkshire.
If not, its leaders won’t just have to answer to Sir Gary.
They’ll have to explain themselves to all those cities, towns and villages across Yorkshire that have taken cycling to their hearts.