Tour de Yorkshire: Two million fans attend three-day race

Crowds at the Tour de Yorkshire
Youngsters rode parts of the route before the riders arrived

Yorkshire is "fast becoming the heartland of cycling", according to the director of the Tour de France.

More than two million spectators watched the three-day Tour de Yorkshire, won by Thomas Voeckler.

Christian Prudhomme said: "The Tour de Yorkshire is on the podium for being one of the best bike races in the world and for me the best public for cycling in the world."

Frenchman Voeckler said the crowd "makes me want to come back next year".

The Direct Energie rider added: "When you see all the crowds on the road, I am sure that in 20 to 30 years there will still be a Tour de Yorkshire so I am really happy that my name is on the winner's list."

An estimated 2.5m people watched the opening two stages of the Tour de France when they were held in Yorkshire in 2014.

Voeckler clinched overall victory in the Tour de Yorkshire on Sunday by beating Team Sky's Nicolas Roche in a sprint finish to win the third and final stage over 123 miles from Middlesbrough to Scarborough.

The race is in its second year and Prudhomme said: "There have been huge crowds, huge enthusiastic crowds who respect the riders.

"The people of Yorkshire have passion and pride. I love what the Tour de Yorkshire has done for children who are watching this on the route and at the start and finish lines.

"These are memories that those children will never forget. The passion is growing and growing."

Thomas Voeckler
Thomas Voeckler was third in last year's inaugural Tour de Yorkshire

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