CRAVEN is fully prepared for the Tour de France and looking forward to reaping the benefits for years to come.

"The tour project has been a huge, but exciting task for the council," said Paul Shevlin, chief executive of Craven District Council.

"Our team has been working on it with great zest and enthusiasm for more than a year and I'm very proud of what they have achieved."

Together with Skipton Town Council and other partners, the council has been preparing for this weekend for the past year.

"Our team will be working day and night alongside our partners to help ensure a safe and smooth event, to co-ordinate the festivities at the Skipton spectator hub and to clean up after the crowds have gone," said Mr Shevlin.

The two stages of the race - which on Saturday and Sunday will take in Craven - are expected to attract 150,000 visitors and a worldwide television audience of 3.5 billion.

"I am looking forward to seeing the stunning images of Craven in national and international media," said council leader, Cllr Chris Knowles-Fitton.

"I am confident Craven will reap the economic benefits, not only this summer, but in many years to come."

The Tour had inspired a "rainbow of initiatives" and would leave a great legacy, said Cllr Simon Myers.

"Together, we are making Craven a top cycling destination, to be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.

"I hope the focus on this part of the world, together with the recent recognition that Skipton is the best place to live in Britain, will encourage those entrepreneurs thinking about starting up a new business to consider the attractions of Craven with its quality of life and 'can do' attitude."

Skipton Mayor, Cllr John Dawson, said everything had come together.

"It’s great to see the town looking so colourful and I’m really pleased that our shops and businesses have got right behind the event," he said.

"We have some wonderful displays and Skipton will really look its best for the thousands of visitors expected and for the worldwide television coverage.

“There is already a buzz around the town and I’m sure that will continue across the whole weekend.”

And Skipton MP Julian Smith, who led the efforts to get government funding, said: "I am delighted by the level of community support in Craven and all the fantastically original ideas to involve all age groups in Le Tour and thank everyone who has made such a huge effort to ensure Craven will give the most incredible welcome to this world class sporting event."