Millions of spectators packed the route between Leeds and Harrogate as le Grand Depart began in the county on a sun-soaked Saturday. The stage winner, Germany’s Marcel Kittel, was clearly impressed with the welcome.
“It was incredible, like being in a tunnel, the crowd were so loud,” he said.
The event never fails to capture the imagination but having the first three stages on British soil made the 2014 edition of an event first run in 1903 that little bit more special.
Stages of the race have been held in Britain before but Le Tour had never previously come this far north – little wonder the locals loved it. It’s estimated that the event generated £100m for the local economy in a single weekend. There was also the small matter of a global audience of 3.5bn enjoying the scenery.
The race director, Christian Prudhomme, said that the British legs of the race had been “beyond our wildest expectations”, before adding: “we’ll be back”.
Britain can’t wait.