Tour de France 2014: After the success of the 'Tour de Britain', race director confirms Le Tour will return

An estimated six million-plus lined the streets to cheer on Chris Froome and Co as the UK bode farewell to this year's Tour, but it could return sooner than you think

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The Independent Online

The Tour de France may have finished it’s short stay in the United Kingdom barely 20 hours ago, but there is already talk that the prestigious cycling event will grace these shores once again sooner than you may think, such has been the success of the Yorkshire-to-London Grand Depart.

As Marcel Kittel clinched staged three victory to add to his opening day triumph, talks were already in place to bring the Tour de France back to the UK in a few years’ time, with Wales and the Lake District mentioned as potential bidders to stage the opening stages of the event.

Monday’s sprint finish on the Mall, with a backdrop of Buckingham Palace, was a sight to cherish on the scale of the Champs-Élysées that will bring the Tour to an end on 27 July.

And British cycling fans had packed the streets between Cambridge and London to get a glimpse of the Peloton, with more turning out to watch the second coming of Le Tour in Britain than attend all four professional football leagues in England each weekend.

Some had been waiting for up to six hours for the pack to flash past, with official estimates stating the turnout around the one million mark to add to the five million that graced the streets of Yorkshire over the weekend. And the confirmation from the race director Christian Prudhomme that the Tour will return to the UK was reason enough to celebrate, such has become the obsession with the leading road race in the world.

Following the conclusion of stage three, Prudhomme described this year’s Grand Depart as “beyond our wildest expectations”, and teased fans as he confirmed: “We will be back.”

With Le Tour set to visit the Netherlands next year, the spokesman of the Yorkshire section of the race has stated that the love affair between Britain and the Tour de France needs to continue in the years to come.

“There is a clamour for it to return,” said Andrew Denton. “The Tour is in the hearts of the people now and the people of Britain are in the heart of the Tour. Why not have it here again?”

It was the grandest sporting event to grace London since the 2012 Summer Olympics, and film director Danny Boyle – whose masterpiece of an opening ceremony got the Games off to an inspiring start – was on hand at the finish line on Monday and gave his seal of approval to Britain’s staging of the Tour.

“When you see it going through little villages, the turnout is like the torch going through,” said Boyle. “When you take sport out to people, people really want it.”