THE 2018 Tour de Yorkshire cycle race boosted the county's economy by £98 million, independent research has shown today.

Businesses across the Bradford district were among those who benefitted from interest in the race, which took place in May.

A record 2.6 million spectators lined the route over the four days of racing, and overall spend was up 54 per cent on last year, to reach £97,973,806.

Accommodation spend also increased 49 per cent on 2017 and spend on items such as food and drink, souvenirs and transport was up by 58 per cent.

The economic impact study, conducted by independent research company GRASP and compiled by Leeds Beckett University, showed that the majority of roadside spectators were from Yorkshire at 79 per cent, while 21 per cent were from elsewhere in the UK and abroad.

One local business which benefitted from the Tour was Keelham Farm Shop in Skipton. Co-owner Victoria Robertshaw, said: "We have been supporters of the Tour de Yorkshire since the start and each year wait in anticipation to see where the route will take the riders.

"The focus on Yorkshire both nationally and internationally has been great for our business which is all about promoting fantastic Yorkshire food.

"We had many opportunities to promote our produce and our brand, from having our popular ‘Keelham Tour de Sausage’ on the menu to creating a ‘Tour de Yorkshire Ale Trail’ with beers from different breweries along the route."

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of tourism agency 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 Tour 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.

The route took in parts of the Bradford district on two stages in 2018, with stage two reaching the race's first ever summit finish on the Cow and Calf in Ilkley. The final day of racing headed up the cobbled Main Street in Haworth before dropping into Goose Eye.

This year's race was televised in 190 countries and watched by 12.5 million global TV viewers, which represents a 29 per cent increase on 2017. A total of 40 global broadcasters covered the action, up from 34 in 2017, and there were more than 1,270 hours of TV coverage shown according to an independent survey by Nielson Sport 2018.

The Tour de Yorkshire was launched in 2015 as a legacy of the 2014 Grand Départ. It is organised by Welcome to Yorkshire and the Amaury Sport Organisation.