NOBODY said it was going to be easy. The Tour de Yorkshire always had a tough act to follow after the massive success of the county’s hosting of last year’s Tour de France Grand Départ.
Throw in the withdrawal of two of the event’s top riders on day one as well as the unpredictable moods of Mother Nature and there was a recipe for, whisper it, something less than an unqualified hit.
But Yorkshire people are nothing if not resilient and what shone through – especially during the rain yesterday morning – was the determination of the organisers, cyclists and of course the fans to make this another occasion to savour.
And, boy, did they pull it off.
An estimated 450,000 spectators watched Saturday’s second stage alone, a turnout that wowed even the sportsmen who have been there, done it and taken the yellow jersey.
From Selby to Beverley and Stamford Bridge to York – and all points in between – the peloton was met by cheering fans as it sped through bunting-laden streets.
The day’s winner, Dutchman Moreno Hofland, summed up the reaction to the crowds when he said: “It is not normal, even in villages the people were three or four deep. It is really cool to be here.”
It was a similar story on Friday, despite the headlines being dominated by those two high-profile withdrawals – Yorkshire’s Ben Swift through injury and Germany’s Marcel Kittel because of illness.
Where else but Yorkshire – the village of Fylingthorpe, to be precise – would some of the world’s leading riders be greeted by loudspeakers blaring out the Queen hit Bicycle Race?
Day three, meanwhile, may have started with downpours but by the afternoon the clouds had lifted and a party was in full swing at Roundhay Park in Leeds.
That was the race that was, then. Now the counting and number-crunching will begin, with co-organiser Welcome to Yorkshire having previously estimated that the event could be worth £40m to the local economy.
What cannot be bought, however, is the value of the stunning TV pictures of Whitby, Wakefield and all the rest that have gone around the world since Friday.
Lars Petter Nordhaug may have been the first person to lift the Tour de Yorkshire trophy but the big winner was surely the White Rose county.
Same again next year? Watch this space...