A former Silsden professional cyclist who left for Australia nearly 30 years ago has been back in the area.

Eric Stone, best known for winning the international Three Peaks cyclo-cross, was seen riding the area’s country lanes during the festive period.

He called to see Cullingworth couple Paul and Sandra Corcoran at their bike shop, Pennine Cycles , and he gave the thumbs-up to the pending arrival of the Tour de France Grand Depart.

“Eric – who rode a Pennine bicycle during his cycling career – said he was amazed Le Tour was coming to Yorkshire, adding it is a once-in-a-lifetime happening that he hopes everyone will support,” said Mrs Corcoran.

Mr Stone will be returning to the region to watch the Grand Depart in July.