Tour de Yorkshire - thousands line the streets to cheer on cyclists

Paul Atkinson Tour de Yorkshire Wetwang Sprint 05
Paul Atkinson Tour de Yorkshire Wetwang Sprint 05

East Yorkshire welcomed back the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire as it wound its way across the region today amid intense excitement among thousands of onlookers who lined a route festooned in a sea of yellow and blue.

Stage two of the sporting extravaganza got underway in Selby at 11.45am and the peloton passed through a number of villages, including Bubwith and Holme-on-Spalding Moor, before making its way to Market Weighton.

Paul Atkinson Tour de Yorkshire Wetwang Sprint 12

Paul Atkinson Tour de Yorkshire Wetwang Sprint 12

Hundreds of excited spectators lined the streets of the town to welcome the Tour. Market Weighton town centre was decked out in yellow and blue bunting, as well as Yorkshire and Union Jack flags for the event.

The race itself was dealt a blow as Team Sky’s pre-race favourite Ben Swift crashed out with 50km remaining and Marcel Kittel abandoning after losing contact with the main bunch.

The cyclists headed on to the village of North Newbald and tackle the North Newbald King of the Mountain climb.

Beverley brought the elite cyclists close up and personal with adoring spectators as the peloton snaked its way through the historic town’s tight streets.

The elite riders then travelled through Cherry Burton, Etton, Lund, Bainton and Tibthorpe in what is expected to be a quick section.

The riders followed this with a sprint stage in Wetwang and then travel through Ryedale before heading to the finish line in York, via Stamford Bridge.

Ken Smith, 64, of Medford Street, Market Weighton, said: “Market Weighton really needs things like this to make more people come to the town. It can only help businesses and increase the profile of the town.

Irene Bennett, 61, of Goodmanham, added: “It’s really good for the East Riding. There is a brilliant turnout. A lot of people have been talking about it. A lot of people have gone out with their decorations and got into the spirit of it all.”

Residents brought out garden furniture in the village of Bainton, near Driffield, where a traditional silver send-off was given to the competitors as they made their way though the rolling Wolds of East Yorkshire.

Following a very quick section from Beverley, through the picturesque villages of Cherry Burton, Etton and Lund, the riders were met by the Driffield Silver Band, who played on a grassy area close to the B1248.

The band had been entertaining the spectators for around 35 minutes before the main event arrived on the scene and continued performing afterwards.

All the riders would have been instantly aware of the welcome as they came down the hill into the village and would have given them a boost ahead of the Wetwang Sprint and the Cote de Fimber as the race headed back into North Yorkshire.

The Parish Council of Wetwang had ordered more than 300 hand-held flags and 50 huge flags, which were fastened onto houses on the A166, to celebrate the occasion.

Following the testing route yesterday from Bridlington to Scaroborough, the riders looked to be enjoying the undulating terrain and were eating up the miles.

Andy Grace, the conductor of Driffield Silver band, said: “We felt it was really important that we got right behind the Tour and show that we really wanted it to come through our area.

“Hopefully it will come back again and it becomes an annual event.”

Following the testing route yesterday from Bridlington to Scaroborough, the riders looked to be enjoying the undulating terrain and were eating up the miles.

Andy Grace, the conductor of Driffield Silver band, said: “We felt it was really important that we got right behind the Tour and show that we really wanted it to come through our area.

“Hopefully it will come back again and it becomes an annual event.”

A number of cycling enthusiasts from the Driffield area were following the route of the elite riders around half an hour afterwards.

The group decided to take on the challenge after being inspired by the Tour.