Not since the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ has Yorkshire experienced such a huge figure on a single day of racing.
Today's bumper crowd helped ensure the third edition was officially the biggest one yet with overall attendances rising from 2 million to 2.2 million year on year.
Entire communities turned out on the roadside to witness the peloton pass though as they traversed the 194.5km route from Bradford to Fox Valley, Sheffield.
Each of the day’s eight categorised climbs were also packed with masses of cheering, colourful and enthusiastic fans.
The parcours was also lined with incredible, eye-catching land art as pictures of Yorkshire were beamed to a record 180 countries.
Pauwels broke clear on the tough concluding loop and he was joined by Dimension Data team-mate Omar Fraile before the race concluded in Stocksbridge.
The duo then pressed home their advantage with Pauwels leading Fraile over the finish line to seal the biggest victory of his career and a first and second for his team who also topped the Doncaster Sheffield Airport and FlyBe Team Classification.
Jonathan Hivert (Direct Énergie) rounded out the podium six seconds later. Those same three riders also claimed the top three positions on the General Classification with Pauwels taking the blue leader’s jersey sponsored by Welcome to Yorkshire.
Australian Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) won the Yorkshire Bank Points Classification, Dutchman Pieter Weening (Roompot–Nederlandse Loterij) sealed the Virgin Trains King of the Mountain prize, and fans on Twitter voted Dexter Gardias (Bike Channel Canyon) the Most Aggressive Rider sponsored by Dimension Data.
Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive Sir Gary Verity reflected on another hugely successful Tour and praised the Yorkshire public who made 2017 another record-breaking year.
He said: “The last three days have been utterly unforgettable. I realise I keep saying it, but I could not be prouder of this great county we call home.
“One million roadside fans on a single day is a truly phenomenal figure and there are barely any week-long races in the sport that can command 2.2 million spectators, let alone a three-day event like ours.
“When I drove the route today there were smiling faces everywhere I looked and ‘The Yorkshire Terrier’ more than lived up to its billing as a stage to remember.
“I’d like to congratulate Serge on a hard-fought victory, and thank all the riders, partners and public who made this the best edition of the Tour de Yorkshire yet.”
Stage and race winner Serge Pauwels said: “The support today was incredible. Over the winter my team wanted me to take part in the Tour de Romandie to warm up for the Tour de France but I said no, I want to do the Tour of Yorkshire. I can’t believe I’ve won here. This is my first professional victory.”