RYEDALE will feel the benefits of the Tour de France for years to come, according to council officials.

Despite the race not passing directly through Ryedale, the event attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors to the region who were able to see what Yorkshire - and Ryedale - had to offer.

Craig Nattress, visitor economy officer at Ryedale District Council said that the race has been a huge boost to the visitor economy in Ryedale.

He said: "The Tour de France put Yorkshire well and truly on the map and the international coverage the county received will be of huge benefit to the visitor economy.

"The true legacy will no doubt be an increase in visitors; including keen cyclists exploring Ryedale's exceptional road and mountain bike terrain, as well as the potential to benefit from the anticipated annual three day stage race called Tour De Yorkshire.

"The full impact of the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire will no doubt be felt in Ryedale for many years to come."

The benefits of the race travelling further afield have been clear to see on the roads of Ryedale as more and more people have been getting on their bikes since the race, which finished last month after cyclists completed a total of 3,664 kilometres.

Tony Poole, 72, of Malton, was one of 10,000 volunteers used for the first time in Tour de France history. Based along the route between Huddersfield and Sheffield near Penistone on the A628, on Sunday 6 July, he said that he has been bitten by the cycling bug since the event came to the region.

He said: "It is something that I will never forget, it was truly amazing. I never imagined that I would be volunteering at the event but it was absolutely fantastic.

"The one memory that will stay with me from the start was Mark Cavendish getting off his bike to give his cap to a disabled teenage spectator sat in his wheelchair; it was a very emotional moment."

Since volunteering at the event Tony said that he has already seen the benefits around Ryedale.

He said: "It has been fantastic promotion for the area and for me personally it has encouraged me to volunteer at events more, particularly cycling events.

"My wife and I are also heading out on our bikes more and I have noticed that quite a lot of people have been doing the same."