YORKSHIRE will stage the eight-day 2019 UCI Road World Cycling Championships, it has been announced.

Millions of spectators are expected to line the region's roads for the championships, which will feature 12 races, including individual and team time trials and road races for under-18s, under-23s and elite riders.

It will see more than 1,000 of the world's best male and female cyclists from around 75 countries compete for the chance to win rainbow jerseys before a predicted global televised audience in excess of 300 million.

British sports chiefs said the event would give British athletes the opportunity to compete in front of a passionate home crowd as they fine tune their preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as well as inspiring thousands of people to take up sport.

The decision to allow Welcome to Yorkshire to help run the event, one of the most prestigious events on the professional cycling calendar, follows its successful hosting of the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014 and two runnings of international race the Tour de Yorkshire.

Although the routes are yet to be announced, the championships which will see races start in North, South, East and West Yorkshire.

The decision was announced by Brian Cookson, president of the sport's governing body, UCI, in Qatar, where this year's championships are underway.

He said: “Since hosting the Tour de France’s Grand Départ in 2014 and subsequent Tours de Yorkshire, the county has proved it is a fitting host for road cycling’s leading annual event and we are sure there will be world class crowds to match.”

Tourism body Welcome to Yorkshire submitted a bid to host the event with British Cycling and UK Sport, and the Government has guaranteed to underwrite the full cost of the event and back it with £24m of investment and £3m from the National Lottery.

Some £15m of the budget will be used to develop 27 grassroots cycle facilities so that every area of Britain has close access to a closed road circuit, velodrome, BMX track or mountain bike trail.

Sports minister Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport said she was delighted the bid had been successful.

She added: "The government is backing the event with investment to stage the Championships and leave a legacy that will help strengthen cycling at the grassroots across the country."

“Yorkshire has embraced major cycling events in recent years and I know the county will put on a fantastic show in 2019."

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said the decision "marked a moment in history".

He said: “We have got the scenery, the crowds, and the warm welcome, and we are sure the world’s best riders will love the challenging roads we have to offer.”

Denise Burton-Cole, a World Championships bronze medallist in 1975 and daughter of two-time world champion Beryl Burton, described the move as "incredible".

“Mum and I travelled the globe representing Great Britain at the UCI Road World Championships. How marvellous it would have been for us to compete in it in Yorkshire, our home county. It would have been so special. Now the best riders in the world are going to have that opportunity. Am I envious? You bet I am.”

To celebrate, English Heritage’s Clifford’s Tower in York has been lit up in the UCI rainbow stripes while the bid film was broadcast on big screens at Millennium Square, in Leeds.