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Crowds on stage 3 of the Tour de France
Crowd estimates hit five million for first three stages in the UK
The Tour de France’s Grand Départ in the United Kingdom was hailed as being the most successful start in the event’s history with spectator numbers that exceeded five million during the first three stages. Crowds of cycling fans packed the streets to watch the nearly 200 participants, again during stage 3, in what the Tour de France organizer, Christian Prudhomme has called “amazing, unforgettable, and the grandest Grand Départ ever.”
The Guardian reported that Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire Gary Verity has discussed with Prudhomme the return of the Tour de France to Yorkshire in the future. “I am already trying to persuade him,” Verity told The Guardian. “It’s been a perfect few days but I’m already looking at what we could have done differently and what would work even better next time. I am going to write a dossier and deliver it to Christian by the end of the week.”
Stage 3, the final stage in the UK, started in Cambridge and took the peloton on a 155km route to London, riding by the Olympic stadium, then along the River Thames, before finishing on The Mall, in front of Buckingham Palace.
It was the flattest of the three days in Britain and was almost certain to end in a bunch sprint. Fans crammed the sides of the route to watch as the peloton ripped through the capital and end the race in a bunch sprint won by Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano).
"Today was one of the best finish lines I have ever seen, with the amount of people lining the roads it was incredible, Kittel said. “It was awesome. I’m really really happy I could win in front of Buckingham Palace.”
World-class bike racing is not new to London streets with stage 3 being the fourth big race finish on The Mall. The first was the London-Surrey Cycling Classic in 2011 won by Mark Cavendish, which worked as the test event for the 2012 Summer Olympic road race won by Alexander Vinokourov. The city last hosted the Tour de France in 2007 with prologue won by Fabian Cancellara, and the start of stage 1 to Canterbury.