A record-breaking 80,000 people watched the Women's Tour in Northamptonshire - up 12,500 on last year.
The county hosted the fifth and final stage of the international women’s cycling event in June and saw some of the world’s best female riders take on the 113km route from Northampton to Kettering.
The estimated 80,000 visitors generated £1.6 million for the local economy with spectators, cyclists and media personnel spending on things like accommodation, food and drink, and merchandise. This is up from £1 million during last year’s event.
The world class race also inspired 64 percent of spectators to cycle more often, according to an independent survey carried out after the event.
A mass participation cycling event called Tour Ride Northamptonshire was also held in July in conjunction with the Women’s Tour and this attracted more than 400 people to take part.
Councillor Heather Smith, leader of Northamptonshire County Council, which has hosted a stage of the Women’s Tour in the county for the past three years, said: “This year’s event was without doubt our biggest and best so far. The number of people lining the streets to watch was truly staggering and the support they showed the riders along the way was tremendous.
“I’m incredibly proud that Northamptonshire has been able to host a stage of the race for the past three years and we’re now starting discussions about next year’s route through the county to make sure 2017 is the best one yet!
“It’s also wonderful to see that it is inspiring people to cycle more and that’s why the mass participation cycle event we held for the first time this summer is so important. The Tour Ride Northamptonshire will be back again next year, so I’d encourage everyone to look out for details and sign up to take part next summer.”
Mick Bennett, race director for event organiser SweetSpot, said: “We were delighted with this year’s final stage of the Women’s Tour in Northamptonshire, and the support the race received across the county.
“The Women’s Tour continues to grow year-on-year and to inspire people to get on their bikes across the country, so we would like to thank Northamptonshire County Council for their continued support of this world leading event.”