Massive crowds, an electric atmosphere and lifelong memories were created as Stage 3 of the Tour de France started in Cambridge today (Monday 7 July).
Officials have estimated over one million people lined the whole of the Stage 3 route from Cambridge through Essex to London to watch the worldâ€™s biggest annual sporting event.
The peloton began its journey by parading through Cambridge, cheered on by wall of noise as they took in the world famous colleges of St Johnâ€™s, Trinity and Kingâ€™s, before officially starting the stage as they left the city on Trumpington Road.
Travelling through South Cambridgeshire, they took in beautiful villages such Great Shelford, Hinxton and Ickleton on roads lined with spectators before leaving the county via Saffron Walden and racing through Essex towards London.
Given the size of the event and the number of spectators, the roads and public transport were very busy but thanks to the patience of the crowds and months of preparations by local authorities, organisations, community groups and many others disruption was kept to a minimum.
While the Tour de France has now left the UK, its legacy continues through the VÃ©lo Festival â€“ which celebrates cycling in Cambridgeshire through culture and sport â€“ which now features more than 120 events taking place across the county through to September.
Cllr Noel Kavanagh â€“ Cycling Champion at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "Hosting the start of Stage 3 of the Tour de France truly was a day like no other. In its long and rich history, I don't think Cambridge has ever witnessed such amazing crowds or the incredible excitement and electric atmosphere which I am proud to have been able to witness. The day would not have been possible without the efforts of so many people and they deserve immense credit for the work they did to help create so many unforgettable memories. Good luck to all the riders for the rest of the Tour - it was a pleasure and a privilege to have been part of your journey."
Cllr Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Community, Arts & Recreation at Cambridge City Council, said: â€œ"We always knew cycling was in the DNA of Cambridge but yesterday we saw faces young and old beaming with excitement as the Tour de France came to town. From dawn to dusk there was an incredible feeling throughout the city and county as we welcomed the world's greatest annual sporting event. Looking now at the images of the day - all you see are eyes lit up with wonder and faces full of joy as the riders made their way along the route. The only shame is that the day seemed to pass too quickly but we know that people witnessed events they will cherish forever and we are very proud to have helped so many people enjoy their day.â€
Cllr Pippa Corney, Cabinet Member for Planning Policy and Localism at South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: â€œHaving the Tour de France travel through South Cambridgeshire was an amazing and breath-taking experience. The crowds along the whole route were huge and passionate in their support for all the teams and especially the riders from the UK. I hope having the worldâ€™s biggest cycle race come to our area will inspire more people to get on their bikes in the days and weeks to come as they commute to work, visit friends or just go for a ride.â€
The Grand DÃ©part raced from Leeds to Harrogate on July 5, York to Sheffield on July 6, and the third stage travelled from Cambridge to London on July 7.