It was a busy day to say the least for the “heartland of cycling.” Over two million fans braced the rain to watch Frenchman Thomas Voeckler dominate the three day Tour de Yorkshire. It was a stunning performance for the Direct Energie rider and he made sure the fans got what they came for. Voeckler won the third and final stage and slipped by Team Sky’s Nicolas Roche in a sprint finish.
Christian Prudhomme, Tour de France director praised the event.
“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.”
Maybe that huge following will mean another appearance by Voeckler?
Surrounded by spectators, he said, “makes me want to come back next year.”
And afterwards he continued to show his adulation.
“When you see all the crowds on the road, I am sure that in 20 to 30 years there will still be a Tour de Yorkshire so I am really happy that my name is on the winner’s list.”
The frenchman was glad to redeem himself and improve on this third place finish from last year. He fought the elements and Team Sky most of the way.
Despite the race’s young age, Prudhomme spoke of his admiration for the fans.
“There have been huge crowds, huge enthusiastic crowds who respect the riders.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.”
These dedicated fans stood through a constant drizzle and because of Thomas Voeckler’s new found love and support to them, I expect the number of spectators will increase at the next Tour de Yorkshire.