Rendezvous next year?

Thomas Voeckler, Direct Energie, crosses the finish line in Scarborough's North Bay to win the stage and take the overall honours from Team Sky's Nico Roche.
Tour de Yorkshire Stage 3.  Middlesborough to Scarborough.  1 May 2016.  Picture Bruce Rollinson
Thomas Voeckler, Direct Energie, crosses the finish line in Scarborough's North Bay to win the stage and take the overall honours from Team Sky's Nico Roche. Tour de Yorkshire Stage 3. Middlesborough to Scarborough. 1 May 2016. Picture Bruce Rollinson
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After tens of thousands of people turned out to watch this year’s Tour de Yorkshire in Scarborough the borough council’s leader said he would like to bring the race back next year.

Frenchman Thomas Voeckler raced to the overall win of the event on Sunday with pictures of Scarborough beamed into millions of homes world-wide on live television coverage. The seafront and North Bay was awash with cheering spectators of all ages as the three-day event reached its epic conclusion.

It was the second year running the North Bay had hosted a stage finish and Cllr Derek Bastiman, the leader of Scarborough Council, has now said he would like to make it a hat-trick.

Cllr Bastiman told The Scarborough News: “I was so proud of the way the event was organised and how it came together on the day.

“When you look at the crowds in North Bay, Sandside, Foreshore Road and the villages it was fantastic.

“People have really taken the Tour to heart and the support for it was overwhelming, people of all ages out cheering on the riders as they came to the finish.

“There has been no discussions about next year but, as leader of the council, I will certainly be expressing an interest in the potential of the race coming back here next year.

“Christian [Prudhomme, the race director] loves Scarborough. 

“He said he likes the coast as the Tour de France often stays inland so there are no stages like the Scarborough one for them.

“I think the amphitheatre finish the North Bay provides is also a big draw for him.

“If the race goes to four days then who knows.

“As I say, this council’s door is always open and we would welcome any discussions about events coming to the borough.”

Organisers Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) and Welcome to Yorkshire are lobbying for the Tour de Yorkshire to run over four days in 2017.

Four host towns for next year have already been announced, with Fox Valley (Sheffield), Halifax, Harrogate and Selby all guaranteed to be either a start or finish of a stage.

It is thought that the organisers would like to include Hull as another location to tie in with its year of celebrations for being the UK City of Culture.

That would open up the possibility of a Hull to Scarborough leg of the tour, with the North Bay likely to be high on the list of race finish locations given the universal praise Sunday’s Stage Three received from the riders and cycling community.

Mr Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France who had wanted Scarborough to take part in the even more prestigious Grand Depart, said: “There have been huge crowds, huge enthusiastic crowds who respect the riders.

“The Tour de Yorkshire is on the podium for being one of the best bike races in the world and for me the best public for cycling in the world.

“The people of Yorkshire have passion and pride. I love what the Tour de Yorkshire has done for children who are watching this on the route and at the start and finish lines.

“These are memories that those children will never forget.

“The passion is growing and growing and Yorkshire is fast becoming the heartland of cycling.”

Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity said more than one  million spectators watched the Middlesbrough to Scarborough stage.

It is estimated the race has brought more than £50 million to Yorkshire’s economy.

He added: “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.”