RYEDALE is poised to benefit from the Tour de France legacy in Yorkshire thanks to the new annual cycling race that is being lined up for the county on the back of the "grandest of Grand Departs".

More than two and a half million people turned out across Yorkshire to witness the event's ceremonial opening stages over the weekend - leading to Tour director Christian Prudhomme describing the occasion as "so very, very special".

Its success has boosted belief that the planned 'Tour de Yorkshire' will become one of the biggest events in the sporting calendar on these shores. This new event will almost certainly go to Ryedale, which missed out on the Tour de France route.

Gary Verity, the chief executive of Welcome To Yorkshire and the man behind bringing the Tour to the White Rose county, confirmed a deal had been struck with the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) through Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) - which controls leading races including the Tour - to stage the new race. It means the world's leading riders and teams are set to return.

Verity said: “We have done a deal with ASO to get the Tour de Yorkshire, which will be one of the biggest cycle races in the sporting calendar and will start next year, to run for who knows how long.

“All the top riders will compete. It won’t be as big to start off with, but the plan is for it to be as big as possible.

"It will be three days of cycling right the way across the county, in places that missed out on the Tour this time round, such as the coast and Ryedale."

The two stages of the Grand Depart went from Leeds to Harrogate on day one, taking in the Yorkshire Dales, and York to Sheffield on day two, with the route going via Knaresborough and Hebden Bridge as far west as Lancashire and back through Holmfirth and over Holme Moss. The Tour continued with a stage from Cambridge to London before continuing in France.

Verity said: “When we first bid for the Grand Depart of the Tour de France, I promised Christian Prudhomme that we would deliver the grandest Grand Depart the Tour has ever seen.

“It gives me immense pride to say that we made good on that promise.”

Prudhomme said the people of Yorkshire had set a high standard against which future Grand Departs would be measured.

He said: “I work for the Tour, but I also love the Tour, and I have seen that the people of Yorkshire love the Tour too. I can see the Tour in their hearts, and in their eyes.

“For that, I say thank you to Welcome to Yorkshire, and to everyone in Yorkshire who has made this Grand Depart so very, very special.

“What you did was good for Yorkshire, for sure, but what you did was also good for the Tour.

“When you said you would deliver the grandest Grand Depart it was the truth. You have raised the bar for all future hosts of the Tour.”

The Tour de Yorkshire is set to be a world-class three-day cycle race. It is planned to take place over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend for the next five years.

The deal is the first direct consequence of the staging of the Grand Depart in Yorkshire.

Verity added: “The Tour of Yorkshire will reach parts of the county we have not been to before. It will be a different route every year and we will also incorporate a women’s race into it.

“We want Yorkshire to be the capital of European cycling.

“When we bid to host the Tour de France we did so in the knowledge that this would be the start of a long relationship with ASO.”

Prudhomme added: “It seems perfectly natural for Welcome to Yorkshire, British Cycling and ASO to continue working together in this new land of cycling, through the Tour of Yorkshire.”

Malton Wheelers' latest time trial around the Hambleton Hills proved a difficult one.

Only six riders turned out to contend with the rises from Slingsby and Conesthorpe, with Paul Hickman winning the battle for first place with a time of 25 minutes 52 seconds, ahead of Matthew Enticknap (26-05). Colin Baldwin (27-25) was third, riding his aero bike for the first time this year.

Others were David Capes (29-16), Cameron Turner (29-23) and Sean Mcdermotts (33-14).