A RECORD one million fans turned out to watch the final stage of the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire on Sunday, and crowds in Skipton once again played a big part in that success.

After the final stage, Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive, Sir Gary Verity, said: “The last three days have been utterly unforgettable. One million roadside fans on a single day is a truly phenomenal figure and there are barely any week-long races in the sport that can command 2.2 million spectators, let alone a three-day event like ours.”

Paul Shevlin, chief executive of Craven District Council, said: “Craven did itself proud once again in welcoming this spectacular cycle race through the district.

“It was fantastic to see so many people come out and support the event. This was a great opportunity for Craven to show the world what a wonderful place it is, with television footage of the race watched by millions across the globe.

“Many thanks to all the organisers, volunteers, competitors and spectators who all played their part in making this a day to remember.”

Dave Parker, chief officer of Skipton Town Council, said: “Skipton really got behind the event and it was great to see so many people lining the town centre for both the publicity caravan and the race itself. Everyone was in good spirits and clearly were enjoying the day.”

He added: “The break between the lead riders and the peleton meant that media coverage was extended – and, once again, showed Skipton in a great light. As we’ve said before about these kind of events, it isn’t just about the day itself it is about people seeing Skipton as the beautiful place it is – and choosing to pay us a further visit at a later date.”

Skipton town ambassador Judy Probst said: "As a Skiptonian, it was very exciting to be involved in the lead up to the race, and then during the Tour itself people could see Skipton look absolutely gorgeous."

She added: "Everybody had a fantastic time and the atmosphere was great."

Local businesses on Skipton's High Street were in a prime location to witness the race and receive the custom of jolly race-goers eager to spend a pound.

"It seemed to be as good as when the Tour de France came through," said Dominic Anforth, assistant manager at Chevin Cycles. "Twenty or 30 people flooded in straight after the race and packed the shop out."

Bike mechanic Josh Ives enjoyed the atmosphere of people cheering on Embsay's Pete Williams, who was the leading rider when the race came through Skipton.

He said: "Everyone knew our lad was in front."

Jenny Votsikas, a waitress at Filmore and Union, said: "We had a lot of very people getting take-outs of coffee and cakes. It was a good atmosphere and people were happy and cheery."

Peter Stainforth, manager of Greggs, said: "It was a very busy day, but we anticipated it because a couple years we had the Tour de France and it was busier then."

North Yorkshire County Council’s highways teams, building on the experience of the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014 and the Tour de Yorkshire in 2015 and 2016, worked hard to prepare the race route, ensuring that traffic was kept moving, disruption was kept to a minimum and that the race itself passed without incident.

The council’s corporate director for business and environmental services, David Bowe, said: “The Tour de Yorkshire goes from strength to strength – and every year we build on experience from previous years, honing our organisation of road closures, to ensure the least impact to residents and businesses on the route,” he said.

“We look forward to welcoming the Tour de Yorkshire back to our county again next year when we can build on the success of this year’s race and make the most of the economic benefits the race brings.”