CROWDS turned out in their thousands to watch Sir Bradley Wiggins lead the peloton as the focus of the cycling world returned to Yorkshire.
Bridlington had embraced its role as the host of the first race in the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire and was awash with blue and yellow.
Guest houses, homes and businesses along the town’s promenade had colourful bunting flying and spray-painted bicycles had popped up all over the place.
The town’s flagship venue, The Spa, which has hosted acts like The Rolling Stones, The Who and Oasis down the years, yesterday welcomed stars from the world of cycling who gathered on the start line outside the theatre’s doorstep.
There, the riders rubbed shoulders with a group of Elvis impersonators, before seeing who would be king of the road.
One of these Bobby Diamond, from Hull, said: “Bridlington looks absolutely fantastic, there are a lot of people around making a great atmosphere.”
Officially starting the race outside the Spa was Bethany Playforth, 21, who has cerebral palsy. Her support worker Mel Tebbitt said: “She has been so excited about being famous for weeks.”
The peloton then headed to Sewerby Hall, where the competitive racing began.
Morris dancer Denise Walker, said: “I think it’s great, I have never seen anything like it before in Sewerby. There were literally trains of children walking up main street. I think it would be great if it was done annually and even better if it came through Bridlington every year.”
Before the race got underway Sir Bradley said: “It is nice to be here in our first time as a team and we will see how the next three days go.”
Race organiser Gary Verity told the crowd: “We should rename this place Bradlington today in honour of Sir Bradley Wiggins.
“The images of the start in Bridlington today will be picked up in 177 countries tonight on television.”
Crowds also turned out in force in Seamer as the race passed through parts Yorkshire not reached by last year’s Tour De France.
The Jennison family, Oscar, five, Sophie, four, and dad Luke were out with handmade signs supporting Wiggins. Mr Jennison said: “They have loved it. They have been painting bikes and making signs. It passed right outside our house.”
After the ceremonial start outside the Bridlington Spa, the riders headed out towards Sewerby, Flamborough and Bempton before reaching North Yorkshire as the race properly got underway.
The race caught the imagination of crowds along the route and the race finished as it began with crowds packing into the centre of a seaside town - as the riders brought the opening day’s racing to a close in Scarborough.
WHITBY and the surrounding villages put on a warm welcome for the hundreds of cyclists and their teams as they descended on the town.
Thousands lined the streets from the moors road all the way into the town centre and children were allowed to go home from school at lunchtime to be able to catch a glimpse of the historic event.
Shops shut to allow staff to watch the race and people clamoured for spots to get the best view, while Whitby Town Council staged a series of events from fancy dress competitions, to the best-dressed shop windows, to get people into the cycling spirit.
The riders arrived in Whitby around ten minutes later than planned. A crash near Egton set them back but the sight of the elite racers sprinting over the historic Whitby swing bridge was worth waiting for.
And the crowds got plenty of opportunity to see the riders as they raced through in various different groups.
Afterwards Valerie Berry, from Newark, said: “It was brilliant to see and fantastic for the area, it must bring people in but we think it should be renamed ‘ t’ tour.”
The race then made its way to Robin Hood’s Bay where the village was tickled pink in anticipation, having embarked on its own colour scheme in support of the event.
The Queen song I Want to Ride my Bicycle blared out in support as cyclists high-fived crowds lining the village streets.
Earlier the race had taken in the slopes and sprints of the Esk Valley in the midst of the North York Moors, where street parties and an after party at Danby Village Hall hosted by singer Alistair Griffin was being thrown to celebrate the event.
THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE, whistles and cheers welcomed the Tour de Yorkshire riders at the finish line in Scarborough.
Thousands gathered at the seafront on Royal Albert Drive to see the culmination of an exciting first-day’s racing.
The race passed through Scarborough for the final part of Stage One, with crowds lining the streets in Cayton, Cloughton, Burniston, Peasholm and North Bay.The crowd at the finish roared as loudly as the waves crashing onto the Drive as winner Lars-Petter Nordhaug crossed the finish line.
He was presented with his Stage One jersey by Scarborough’s mayor Pat Marsburg, who said: “I feel proud and privileged to be part of such a special event. It’s been marvellous and I would like to thank everyone involved.”
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