AND so it’s all over. The crowds have dispersed, the TV cameras have gone and the helicopters have flown off for other destinations.

But what a weekend it was.Tens of thousands took to the streets and were blessed with some of the hottest weather of the year to cheer on their heroes and get into the party spirit.

In just four short years the Tour de Yorkshire has carved itself into people’s hearts and taken an irreplaceable position on the region’s sporting calendar.

There’s more to come. Moves are afoot to bring the start of the Vuelta a España - the Tour of Spain - to the region in the future, which could emulate the extraordinary success of the 2014 Yorkshire Grand Départ of the Tour de France,

And it is already confirmed that the UCI Road World Championships will be here in 2019, with starts in Northallerton, Ripon and York among other places. For those that enjoy countdowns, that’s only 498 days away.

No-one could have predicted just how astonishing the public reaction to the large-scale cycling events could have been and on the evidence of last weekend it shows no sign of easing.

Kudos have to go to the seemingly inexhaustible Sir Gary Verity and his incredibly hard-working team at Welcome to Yorkshire - they have succeeded in putting the region on the sporting map in a manner that few could ever have envisaged.

But what they have created is more than just a sporting event - it is a region-wide festival that has brought out the best in communities large and small.

Long may it continue and don’t throw out the bunting, flags and banners - you’ll be needing them again next year.