The nation's view of North Yorkshire changes for the better

Darlington and Stockton Times: HIGH FIVES: A police outrider during the Tour de France helps keep the waiting crowds occupied HIGH FIVES: A police outrider during the Tour de France helps keep the waiting crowds occupied

A QUARTER of the country now want to visit Yorkshire following the feel-good factor surrounding the Tour de France.

The county is bracing itself for a tourist boom after hosting the biggest Grand Depart in the history of the world's most famous cycle race.

A third of the population's opinion on Yorkshire was positively changed by the Tour - as shots of stunning Yorkshire countryside was beamed around the world. A study by ResearchBods found that 25 per cent of the UK now want to visit.

It also found that three-quarters of the county want tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire – who spearheaded the winning bid – to bid for more sporting events.

A new international, world-class cycle race is now being planned, dubbed the Tour of Yorkshire – which will see three days of racing delivered by Welcome to Yorkshire, ASO and British Cycling next May. An application to the UCI is currently being considered.

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, hailed the Tour de France a “game changer” and said it has begun to tap into the potential the county has for becoming a global destination.

“This is the start of a journey for Yorkshire, not the end of one. The Yorkshire Grand Départ was a game changer and we’re only just scratching the surface of the enormous potential that our county has as we continue on our way towards being a global must-see destination.”

North Yorkshire Police also came in for praise from the spectators lining the route. Images of police outriders’ high-fiving out-stretched hands and helping keep the crowds entertained flooded Twitter and Facebook.

Temporary assistant chief constable Ken McIntosh said it was the single biggest deployment of North Yorkshire Police staff –including officers, staff and special officers - in its history.

He said police were encouraged to engage with the crowds over the weekend and he thought the Gendarmerie were probably a “bit surprised” to see the British police motorcyclists high-fiving crowds.

“What we said right from the start was that this was a celebration,” said the temporary assistant chief constable, who acted as gold command for North Yorkshire Police during the event.

“We were encouraging the motorcyclists to really engage with the crowds who had been there a long time waiting for what was a relatively short time for the cyclists to go through.”

Nearly 1,000 officers from the three Yorkshire forces were deployed each day along the 130 mile route.

About 500 special constables were used over the weekend, including about 45 from the Northumbria Police force area.

In North Yorkshire all police leave was cancelled from the end of June until July 11, to allow officers responsible for policing the Great Yorkshire Show and other major summer events to take rest days.

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