Almost a year ago, Welcome to Yorkshire chief, Gary Verity, promised that Yorkshire would host “the grandest of Grand Départs“.
The scenes in Leeds this morning lend more than a little credence to what might have seemed an exaggerated claim.
Thousands upon thousands of spectators filled the city centre, with the section of the Headrow in front of Leeds’ magnificent town hall by far the busiest.
The home riders – just four of them – received huge cheers from the massed ranks of supporters. If Mark Cavendish had hoped to reduce expectation with a low key press conference in which his message focused on the strength of the team and the importance of the 20 stages after the Grand Départ, his plan failed. The Manx Missile received a rapturous welcome.
And any notion that the popularity of defending champion, Chris Froome, might be diminished by the absence of Team Sky colleague and rival, Sir Bradley Wiggins, was swiftly dispelled. Chants of “Froomey!” filled the air when any rider in black and blue rolled past, and even the Team Sky bus was cheered. There is little doubt which of the WorldTour grandees is on home soil.
RoadCyclingUK joined the thousands who lined the streets of Leeds city centre to bring you these pictures of another memorable day in the history of British cycle sport.