BUSINESSES and communities across northern Ryedale have praised the “special and exciting atmosphere” created during Stage Three of the second annual Tour de Yorkshire on Sunday.
Christine Garnett, committee member of Helmsley in Business and owner of the Hunters of Helmsley deli, said: “It was fantastic to see the crowds in Helmsley for the Tour de Yorkshire, despite the miserable weather. Us Yorkshire folk don’t let that put us off.
"The atmosphere was great, and the whole town looked amazing with the effort that had gone into decorations and individual activities run by businesses.
"As a business the day didn't have our tills ringing any more than a usual busy bank holiday weekend, but that's not the point of such an event - it was about getting people together and celebrating our great town and county. And we definitely did that!"
Businesses outside the town centre felt the benefit of the extra visitors.
Chris Lazenby, owner of Lazenby Visuals, said: “We are away from the main area of the town, but we still noticed a distinct increase in the number of people during the build up over the weekend.
“It was great to see the town so busy again and we can’t wait for the summer season to really get going.”
Money was being raised on the day for the RNLI - one of the Tour’s official charities. In Helmsley, families could find hidden yellow-knitted wellies to win a pass to either the National Centre for Birds of Prey or the Walled Garden.
There was also a raffle by Hunter’s deli to win a one-kilogram chocolate boot. Although the RNLI have yet to tally up the exact total raised, a spokesperson said: “It was a brilliant day for us.”
Carolyn Frank, owner of Libby Butler Jewellers, said: “There was a huge sense of community pride and this made for a really special atmosphere. Lots of visitors commented on this too, and we are very grateful to everyone who helped Helmsley look its best as well as all the hundreds of people who turned out in the rain to cheer the riders on.
“Special thanks should go to Lizzie (No.54 B&B) and Mandy (Viva Hair) who co-ordinated the decorating, with help from many other members of Helmsley in Business.”
Kyle Boote, Helmsley in Business member and owner of the Helmsley Brewing Co, said: "We were proud to serve serve North Yorkshire beers, Striding the Riding and Yorkshire Legend, to cycling fans who braved the conditions at Sutton Bank Visitor Centre.
"Our brew tap in Helmsley was packed, with locals and visitors enjoying a carnival atmosphere. A special weekend in a special place."
In Kirkbymoorside, the town band played to welcome the cyclists as they sped through.
Mayor Chris Dowie said: “So many people and businesses got involved. We had bunting and painted bikes everywhere. People were standing on the roundabout and all along the road right along the town boundary.
“It was fantastic, a really exciting day to see them coming through.”
The race itself came down to a game of cat and mouse from 5km to go, with Nicolas Roche (Team Sky) and Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) storming into Scarborough to incredible levels of noise from the crowds.
With less than 1km to go, Voeckler made a move and outsprinted Roche to take the win, securing him the overall title in the process.
Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said: “Yorkshire is the true winner. The way the people of Yorkshire have taken this race to their hearts is overwhelming.
“The county is fast becoming the capital of cycling and that is down to the incredible support from communities who have turned out in their droves.”
For more pictures, go to our online gallery at gazetteherald.co.uk/pics/galleries/tour_de_yorkshire_2016/