THOUSANDS of cheering, flag-waving spectators turned out to welcome the Tour de Yorkshire to the district.

The fourth and final stage of the internationally-acclaimed cycle race came through the Worth Valley and South Craven on Sunday afternoon.

Excited crowds lined the streets for the arrival of the competitors.

The race arrived in Denholme at around 1pm and then took in Leeming, Oxenhope, Haworth, Oakworth, the Cote de Goose Eye and Laycock, before heading to Sutton and Skipton.

It was preceded by the race caravan, which gave out goodies to the crowds.

Organisers, Welcome to Yorkshire and the Amaury Sport Organisation, said they were delighted with the public response to the event.

The Tour de Yorkshire was launched in 2015 as a legacy of the previous year's Grand Depart.

Peter Dodd, Welcome to Yorkshire commercial director, said this year's event had been "incredible".

"The pride and passion of all those people watching over the four days of the Tour was plain to see and having the world-class male and female riders in action will have inspired thousands of people to get active," he added.

"We've taken the race to another level this year and Christian Prudhomme, of Amaury Sport Organisation, has commented that Yorkshire deserves the yellow jersey for its crowds.

"Driving the route, the crowds were up there at Tour de France-level proportions, six to ten deep in almost every place we passed through.

"We're showcasing Yorkshire to a worldwide audience and that’s incredibly powerful, and our race is going from strength to strength."

People locally have paid glowing tribute to the event.

Mike Hutchinson – who runs Ye Sleeping House B&B in Haworth Main Street, a famed section of the Tour route – said it was a "fabulous" day.

"The atmosphere was absolutely electric," he said.

"Main Street was packed, at the top and bottom.

"Everybody was applauding and cheering as the cyclists came up, and those at the back of the race got the biggest applause!

"One woman watching was so overwhelmed she was in tears.

"The race brings people to the area and shows to the world how beautiful Yorkshire is."

Mr Hutchinson added that he had already received a booking for next year, on the back of the Tour.

MP John Grogan said the climb through Haworth had become a fixture of the race.

"It would be great to see it as the finish of one of the stages in future years – as Ilkley Moor was last year." he added.

"Oxenhope, Oakworth and Goose Eye looked resplendent on the TV.

"In Yorkshire of course there is still the World Road Racing Cycling Championships to look forward to later in the year.

"There could not be a better advert for God’s Own County."

Worth Valley councillor Rebecca Poulsen watched the race from a vantage point at the top of Bridgehouse Lane in Haworth.

She praised communities throughout the area for the support they gave.

"All the villages along the route through the Worth Valley go to town with their support and it is great to see," she added.

"It generates a fantastic community feel.

"The event is such a positive thing for the area and paints it in a great light."

Last month, fellow Worth Valley councillor Russell Brown had overseen a drop-in session at Oxenhope Primary School to paint Yorkshire white roses and create artwork to welcome the Tour.

He said people of all ages were involved.

"It was a real community project and as a result there were lots of things along the route," he said.

"It helps put the area on the map and brings visitors into the district which is great for tourism.

"We are now well known as a cycling-friendly place."