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Millions see Pauwels wins Tour of Yorkshire

© AFP/File | Belgium's Serge Pauwels, pictured in March 2017, won the Tour of Yorkshire

LONDON (AFP) - 

Serge Pauwels won the Tour of Yorkshire after hanging on to win Sunday's final stage for the first title success of his career with police estimating a million fans turned up to watch.

Pauwels, riding for Team Dimension Data, attacked on the second of four climbs late in the 194.5 kilometre stage from Bradford to the Fox Valley, near Sheffield.

He built a lead of more than 30 seconds and that advantage proved decisive as the chasing pack started to close on the final climb.

By the time he crossed the line Pauwels's lead had been reduced to nine seconds, with his team-mate Omar Fraile coming in second.

"It feels a bit strange," Pauwels said after standing on the podium in front of a large crowd at the finish. "It is the first time I have had my hands in the air.

"But I think people would not really be surprised that I take a win because I have been quite close.

"Last year I was second, third, fourth, everything except a win, and now I get two wins at the same time which makes it more special."

Police estimated Sunday's crowd alone at one million fans, taking the total for the weekend to 2.2 million, an impressively high figure for the fledgling race.

"I've ridden all around the world," Pauwels said. "If I would make a top three of the most amazing crowds, of course you have the Belgian Classics, the Basque people who are amazing, but I think the people here in Yorkshire for sure are also top three.

"They are very enthusiastic and the roads are full. It's incredible, something you almost never see anywhere else."

© 2017 AFP