A RYEDALE businessman is urging the area to 'gear-up' for the Tour de France Grand Depart and tap into the potential its offers both for this year and for the years to come.

Victor Buchanan, who owns the White Swan Inn in Pickering, with his wife Marion, said there was a danger Ryedale would miss out on the opportunity to promote the area unless more action was taken.

"I was invited to take part in a cycle day with Gary Verity, CEO of Welcome to Yorkshire, where along with 20 others, we completed the first stage of the race," he added.

"I accepted the challenge because I wanted someone to be involved who could bat for Ryedale and this side of North Yorkshire, as well as seeing what had been done at the other side of the A1 for the event."

Victor said he was impressed at how much the region hosting the Tour de France was geared up and ready for the event to get underway on July 5, compared to this area.

"I appreciate that the route is not coming through Ryedale but it had to go somewhere and someone had to miss out but they have done a dam good job to bring it to Yorkshire and we all need to make the most of this opportunity," he added.

"The organisers are predicting thousands of people are going to come to the region as well as the millions who will watch it on television and see Yorkshire for the first time.

"Even though we haven't got the race this year, a new international bike race in will be held in Yorkshire next year which will include places that missed out such as Ryedale, which is why it is so important to make the most of this year's opportunities to showcase the area."

Victor said the event was not on for very long so hopefully people would look at visiting other regions during their stay.

"Businesses need to update their websites and think of extras that will help attract cyclists," he added.

"For example, we are investing in our infrastructure to appeal to cyclists both for this year and for the years to come to ensure we don't miss out out on the legacy the Tour will create."

Victor said that with less than a month to go everyone needed to put more effort in to attract the hordes of cyclists.

"Pickering is the best place on the planet to cycle from with the Vale of York in one direction and the Moors in the other, while for those who prefer their mountain bikes there is Dalby Forest on our doorstep," he added.

"There is gold in them there hills - cycling is going to be massive and Ryedale needs to act now to make sure it doesn't miss out."