INDEPENDENT research estimates this year’s Tour de Yorkshire brought with it a staggering £98 million boost for the local economy.

This year’s race saw world-famous cyclists passing through streets and roads lined with crowds in North Yorkshire. It was estimated a record 2.6 million spectators lined the route over the four day men's race between May 3 and May 6 and two day women's race from May 3.

Now an economic impact study, carried out by independent research company GRASP and compiled by Leeds Beckett University has estimated overall spending was up 54 per cent to £97,973,800.

The study also revealed that the majority of roadside spectators were from Yorkshire (79 per cent) while 21 per cent were from elsewhere in the UK and abroad.

Accommodation spend also increased 49 per cent year on year and non-accommodation items such as food and drink, souvenirs and transport increased by 58 per cent.

The race also appears to be increasing in popularity abroad. This year’s race was televised to 190 countries and watched by 12.5 million global television viewers, an increase of nearly a third – 29 per cent - on 2017.

There were over 1,270 hours of TV coverage shown according to an independent survey by Nielson Sport 2018.

Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “This is absolutely tremendous news for the Tour de Yorkshire and for the county as a whole.

“The prestige of hosting the world’s best riders is just one part of why we organise the Tour de Yorkshire but this is so much more than a bike race. The benefits it brings to Yorkshire innumerable.”

“These figures support the feedback we received from right along the race route. In Garforth, for instance, businesses reported two weeks’ earnings in the space of 24 hours, in Richmond, all 12 cash machines ran out of money on the day they hosted the start of stage three and in Beverley, cafes there told us they’d had their busiest day all year. It’s news like this which makes us so proud, and so passionate about building on these successes in the future.

“The Tour de Yorkshire is about bringing communities together as well and the way people turned out to support this year’s race was truly overwhelming. The county has taken the event thoroughly to its heart and we’ll work hard to ensure it keeps on going from strength to strength.”

The 2018 edition saw the men’s race grow from three stages to four and the Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race double in size from one day to two. Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet triumphed in the men’s event while American star Megan Guarnier took the female title.