THE Tour de Yorkshire begins today, with the race due to pass through Pocklington.

The women's race will set off at about 8.40am, while the men's event will begin at about 11.05am.

And before the Grand Depart from Beverley, Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity and race director Christian Prudhomme visited towns on the route to see the preparations.

Sir Gary Verity said: “It’s been fantastic see the huge effort everyone has gone to decorate their towns, villages and businesses to welcome the riders of the Tour de Yorkshire.

"I’m staggered by the lengths people go to each year to celebrate the race and this year is even better - I would say on a par with when we hosted the Grand Depart in 2014. Incredible!

"I’m hugely grateful to everyone for all their amazing efforts. You’ve done Yorkshire proud.”

The women's race is due to pass through Pocklington at about 9.55am today, with caravan set to arrive in the town at about 1.50pm and the riders in the men's race scheduled to arrive in the town just after 4pm.

The route will then take competitors through Holme on Spalding Moor and Howden before making its way to the end of the stage in Doncaster.

Christian Prudhomme added: “Yorkshire is looking incredible!

"We have seen giant artwork, children decorating Yorkshire roses, entire towns lined with bunting and even a bike you can see from space on the roof of Trinity Leeds shopping centre.

"The riders are going to receive an incredible reception when they race through Yorkshire."

Yesterday organisers were joined by 2017 race winner Thomas Voeckler for a walking tour of Howden town centre, where they met schoolchildren and staff from businesses preparing to welcome riders.