Tour de France fever took over Leeds city centre this morning as the stage was set for the Grand Depart.
There was a carnival atmosphere as crowds milled around Victoria Gardens on The Headrow in the pre-race buzz.
National and international media interviewed visitors for audiences back home, trying not to get in the way of the hordes clamouring to get photos of the permanent marker on the pavement, while the official Tour boutique was swamped with people, four-deep, desperate for souvenirs.
At the town hall, a sea of yellow ‘carpets’ drew scores into the Yorkshire Bicycle Show, while others sat in deck chairs on the steps outside, listening to The Puncture Kit, aka David Osborne, The Bicycle Drummer, who drums on his upturned bike.
Leader of Leeds City Council Council Coun Keith Wakefield said: “What an amazing experience that was. The atmosphere of the crowd, the excitement, the colour, the noise, it was all absolutely incredible and is something I will never forget.
“Hosting the Tour de France has been the biggest event in living memory in Leeds, so thank you to everyone in the city for making this such a historic and successful occasion.
“The Tour organisers, teams and riders have been absolutely blown away by the welcome they have received here so everyone involved and all those who cheered and clapped at the roadside on Thursday night and this morning should feel very proud. We wish all the riders well now as they head out to explore the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.”
*Were you there to wave the riders on their way? What did you think? Let us know and send us your pictures and videos!