By Steve Pearson & Sam Charlton
Persistent rain failed to dampen Yorkshire spirits as mass crowds took to the streets for the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire both yesterday and today.
Mother Nature delivered scattered showers and chilly temperatures, yet fans of all ages lined the route from departure to finish.
This tour is on its 5th edition having first been held in 2015. Yesterday saw the Heritage stage kick things off from Doncaster to Selby with a 182.5km route lasting 4+ hours.
The stage was won by Dutch rider Jesper Asselman with a time of 4h05’34” 00″.
Local resident Elaine Mather travelled from Horsforth to view it despite the adverse weather: “The weather didn’t stop us going yesterday. We love the Tour de Yorkshire and we have waited to watch it so the rain was never going to stop us going”.
Live coverage of the event was provided by Eurosport and the idyllic scenery was on full display to the national audience. However, live pictures occasionally cut out owing to the poor weather conditions, robbing viewers at home the chance to see the picturesque settings.
It is unknown how the weather will impact the overall attendance at this year’s events, however, the figure is still expected to eclipse the 1.5 million that attended the first edition of the Tour de Yorkshire in 2015 and again in 2016. The current record number of spectators is 2.6 million, which was set last year.
The good news for cycling fans is that the weather is predicted to improve over the weekend, with no rain expected on Saturday or Sunday and sunny spells emerging during the final stage of the tour as the riders make their way from Halifax to Leeds.