THE hosting of two stages of the Tour of Britain cycle race provided a huge economic boost of almost £11m to the Cumbrian economy.

The stages were held in September and proved a runaway success with the figure more than twice the £5m boost received when the event was last held in the county in 2016.

"The Tour of Britain has once again delivered many benefits to Cumbria – boosting the local economy to the tune of more than £11m, giving people two truly memorable days and encouraging more cycling in the county," said Cumbria County Council cabinet member for Highways and Transport Cllr Keith Little.

Cumbria became the first county in the Tour’s history to host two full stages of the race, with a team time trial from Cockermouth to Whinlatter followed by a race over a 105 mile route from Barrow to Whinlatter.

Accommodation providers, retailers and transport operators were among many Cumbrian businesses to reap the benefits of the race according to the independently compiled analysis.

The two stages also enjoyed record crowds, attracting a combined total of 240,000 spectators to the county. In addition, a total of 1.5 million viewers watched television coverage on the ITV4 channel.

The analysis also noted that up to 60 per cent of spectators came from outside Cumbria and 48 per cent stayed overnight.

"Hosting two full stages of the race was a big coup for Cumbria and was a great opportunity to showcase our wonderful county to a worldwide television audience," said Cllr Little.

"It was also fantastic to see so many schools getting involved in the Tour of Britain this year and we hope the race has inspired more people to take up cycling."

Mick Bennett, Tour of Britain race director, said the two Cumbrian stages were among the best seen since the race was relaunched in 2004.

"The challenging terrain tackled by the world’s best riders, the stunning landscapes and sheer number of people who lined the route over the two days meant that the race had a carnival-like atmosphere, something that the professionals commented on and also came across to the millions of TV viewers around the world," he said.