“Let them know they’ve come to Pickering,” shouted Tour Maker Tony Poole as the crowds cheered in response.

There was still an hour to go before the riders of the first inaugural Tour de Yorkshire arrive in Pickering, but already Tony was gearing up the crowds, a few of whom had set up picnic chairs along the 1km sprint section where Tony was based.

Tony, who was a Tour Maker at the Grand Depart last year, was thrilled to be a flag and whistle marshal at the race, which got the whole of Pickering excited.

He said: “My job was to blow the whistle and wave the flag as the cyclists reached the roundabout and split. It was quite spectacular.

“Although it’s not on the same scale as the Tour de France, it was still very exciting to be a part of it and an absolute privilege.”

The cyclists had not even ridden through the town yet, but already Tony was predicting big crowds and an even bigger race next year.

York Press:

People enjoy the sunshine as they wait for the peloton to arrive in Pickering

“I can really see it growing. Within ten years I can see it being the biggest race, the amount of interest has been phenomenal.”

Leaving Tony to rev up the steadily growing crowds, there was plenty of action in the Market Square. A big screen was set up to show the race after the cyclists had reached Rosedale after racing through Pickering and there was music and plenty of teas and treats.

Musician David Swann sang “the peloton is heading to Pickering town” as people sat and ate cakes before taking their place as spectators.

There were plenty of novice cyclists out and about too, with full Lycra and cleats still on, ready to witness the sporting spectacle.

Tim Sedman, a keen cyclist from Malton who had cycled to Pickering said: “It is a great area for cycling and I’m expecting a great race. It is perfect weather for cycling as well.”

As the town slowly starts to fill up, a popular area for spectators is along the 1km sprint along Hungate.

Chris Bateman hasn’t had to come far, living just up the road from the sprint section.

“It’s great that it is on our doorstep,” he said.

“It should be on our doorstep too because this is a fantastic area, the Grand Depart should have been in North Yorkshire.”

By 1pm the crowds have lined the streets, four and even five deep in places, and the blue flags are out in force with some people even waving giant blue inflatables on rooftops.

True to Tony’s commands, the crowds in Pickering give the cyclists a true North Yorkshire welcome, cheering, clapping and whistling as they whizz past.

York Press:

Riders in the peloton make their way along Westgate in Pickering during Stage One of the Tour de Yorkshire         

Although the leading group and then the peloton are gone in a flash the memory will no doubt stay with the people of Pickering and those who visited forever.

Doreen and Malcolm Townend had travelled from Garforth to meet their friends Janice and Tony Leary who had just moved to Pickering from Mansfield a week ago.

All four have volunteered at the North York Moors Railway in Levisham for the past nine years and as regular visitors to Pickering said that this wasn’t an event they were going to miss.

“Yorkshire is being promoted which is great,” said Tony.

Janice said: “We love Pickering and everyone seems to have really got behind the race with bunting and bikes everywhere which is fantastic and really great to see.”