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Froome crosses Channel by bike

Footage of the world first has been released, coinciding with the UK’s successful hosting of the Grand Départ

A VIDEO of British cyclist Chris Froome cycling the Channel Tunnel – a world first – has been released, marking the tunnel’s 20th anniversary and the Tour de France’s UK start.

Froome cycled 50km along a service tunnel 100m under the sea; the first time anyone has crossed by bike. “This could be a really cool stage of a race,” says Froome on the video, which can be seen on YouTube at Cycling under the Sea.

It comes as the Tour de France cyclists gear up for the third and final stage in the UK, from Cambridge to London, later this morning, which will be followed by the first French stage, from Le Touquet to Lille, tomorrow from 12.30.

The opening two stages in Yorkshire were marked by large and enthusiastic crowds, and – despite a poor forecast – generally good weather.

Race director Christian Prudhomme called the turnout “unbelievable, incredible”, estimating there may have been as many as five million spectators over the weekend (though official police estimates were 2.5 million).

He told the Yorkshire hosts: “When you said you would deliver the grandest Grand Départ it was the truth; you have raised the bar for all future hosts of the Tour de France.”

Getting into the spirit of the event, locals had decked out their villages in yellow – one farmer even dyed his sheep – and points along the race were given French names, like le Côte de Buttertubs, a Dales hillside where the crowds were especially packed, inviting comparisons with French alpine stages like the Alpe d’Huez.

The first stage, from Leeds to Harrogate on Saturday, was won by Germany’s Marcel Kittel, who was handed the yellow jersey by Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge.

There was disappointment for Briton Mark Cavendish, who crashed just before the finish line in a town with which he was close family links. A shoulder injury has forced him to drop out of the Tour.

Frenchman Bryan Coquard came fourth and Froome was sixth on Saturday. Sunday’s stage from York to Sheffield was won by Italian Vincenzo Nibali, with France’s Tony Gallopin in fifth and another Frenchman, Romain Bardet in 10th place.

More detail of the results can be found here.

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