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It's the Tour de Londres! Capital rolls out yellow carpet as German Marcel Kittel wins stage three after 71-mile sprint from Cambridge
- Marcel Kittel's Tour sprint supremacy continues today as German wins stage three on The Mall in Central London
- After two-day trip through stunning Yorkshire scenery the world-famous race began this morning from Cambridge
- It passed through Essex villages and Chelmsford before entering north-east London through the Olympic Park
- Italy's Vincenzo Nibali launched late attack to win stage two of race as it journeyed from York to Sheffield yesterday
- Riders thank spectators for support but warn they could get seriously hurt if they step into the road to grab selfies
- Tour de France champion Chris Froome describes level of support for race in England as 'absolutely unbelievable'
- Two young women pictured sitting precariously on window ledge as they wait for the Tour to go through Cambridge
By MARK DUELL
PUBLISHED: 11:04 GMT, 7 July 2014 | UPDATED: 21:08 GMT, 7 July 2014
Marcel Kittel's Tour sprint supremacy continued today as the German won stage three of the Tour de France in Central London in a dramatic finish.
The final English leg began in Cambridge at about 12.15pm with the riders passing King's College before the race start in nearby Trumpington.
The 197 riders passed through picturesque villages in Essex shortly after 1pm as thousands of people lined the route for the Tour’s third stage.
Kittel (Giant-Shimano) already has two wins from three stages after triumphing on Saturday's opening day and again in front of Buckingham Palace.
Its average speed was about 25mph (40kmph), and the event passed through Central London at about 4pm, just before the evening rush hour started.
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Winner: Germany's sprinter Marcel Kittel crosses the finish line near Buckingham Palace to secure victory in the third stage of the Tour de France race over 96 miles
Dramatic finish: The pack with stage winner Marcel Kittel of Germany sprints down The Mall as Buckingham Palace is seen in the background
Finish: A teammate, rear right, celebrates as Germany's sprinter Marcel Kittel, front left, crosses the finish line on The Mall to win the third stage of the Tour de France
A royal view: The riders speed past Buckingham Palace as they near the finish of the 155km route during the third stage of the Tour de France
Finale: Marcel Kittel celebrates as he crosses the the finish line at The Mall to win stage 3 of this year's Tour de France
Celebrations: Marcel Kittel celebrates winning today's stage 3 of the Tour which finished at The Mall in central London after starting in Cambridge
Winner: Vincenzo Nibali of Italy celebrates on the podium wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey following the third stage of the 101st edition
In the lead: Italy's Vincenzo Nibali, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, celebrates on the podium of the third stage of the Tour de France
Tears of joy: Vincenzo Nibali is overcome with emotion on the podium as he celebrates wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey following stage three of the Tour
Peter Sagan (Cannondale) was second for stage three today, with Cavendish's Omega Pharma-QuickStep team-mate Mark Renshaw third.
Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), who assumed the yellow jersey by winning in Sheffield on day two, finished safely in the bunch to retain the overall lead.
Cycling fan Paul Savage had taken the day off work to make sure he had a place at the front of the barrier to watch the cyclists go past in East London.
He said: ‘I'm a cycling fan so would not have missed this event for the world. I took the day off work to be here and have been queuing since 1pm.
‘It was so exciting to see the riders flash past and hear the shouts of the crowd. I bet 90 per cent of people here could not name any of the cyclists.
‘But still they came out to watch these blokes go past - it was wonderful to see so many children here.
‘I was born in Stratford - it's an underprivileged area and an event like this will provide a real legacy for the area.’
John Coleman, who had taken his daughters, aged seven and nine, out of school early to see the race said: ‘I came here for the girls, and they loved it.
Pedal power: Crowds gather in Cambridge to see the cyclists on their way through the historic university city
Riding along cobbles: The pack of riders race their way through the street of Cambridge during the third stage of the race
Dangerous: Two young women sit precariously on a window ledge as they wait for the Tour de France to go through Cambridge
Lycra-clad: Riders pass Kings College, Cambridge this morning after weaving their way through Yorkshire this weekend
From above: The Tour de France begins its third stage from Cambridge, as seen from the Pitt Building
Glorious sight: The Tour de France goes through the picturesque village of Finchingfield, near Braintree in Essex
Impressive scene: Riders make their way up the short climb in the village of Finchingfield in north Essex during stage three of the Tour de France today
Battle: The crowd was 10 deep in parts of the village of Finchingfield in Essex for stage three of the Tour de France
Packed: Thousands of fans lined the streets of Cambridge this morning as the race got underway and the contingent started their journey to London
Interaction: A police officer high-fives children as they wait for the riders to come pass outside Cambridge during stage three of the Tour de France
On the road: Germany's Jens Voigt draws a crowd as he rides through the departure village in Cambridge as hundreds of spectators turn out to support him
British countryside: Riders break away during the third stage between Cambridge and London as the cyclists compete in front of a stunning backdrop of rural Britain
Riders go through the Essex village of Roxwell during the Tour de France's stage three
On their way: Jean-Marc Bideau leads Jan Barta as the Tour de France passes through Bannister Green in Essex (left), while spectators there take to scaffolding (right)
On they go: The Tour travels through Essex and enters Greater London
At speed: Crowds greet the breakaway riders as they arrive in the village of Finchingfield in north Essex during stage three
‘It will definitely encourage them to get on their bikes, which is why I bought them out.’
Newham resident Jogga Teidy said: ‘I've lived here 40 years and I never thought the Tour de France would come to Newham.’
The 96-mile (155km) stage follows a weekend which saw at least 2.5million people watch cyclists battle through Yorkshire's city streets and country lanes.
Some reports had suggested East Anglia may provide a more subdued welcome, but the crowd was 10 deep in parts of Finchingfield in Essex.
An air ambulance was called to the village as crowds gathered in the heat ahead of the race.
The East of England Ambulance Service received reports that a man in his 60s had collapsed and been taken ill at around 10.30am.
A spokesman for the air ambulance said the casualty was in a ‘serious condition’ in Basildon Hospital.
Here comes the rain: Despite warm sunshine in Cambridge for the start of the Tour at lunchtime, rain started to fall as the riders arrived into London later this afternoon
Wet: Rain started to fall rather heavily as the riders roared past the Tower of London and onto the final sprint towards the finish line at The Mall
The rain won't dampen our spirits! Spectators embraced the wet weather and sheltered themselves with umbrellas and coats as rain started to fall in the capital
Crash: Two cyclists collide in the capital as thousands of people line the streets for the 2014 Tour de France
Underground station: Riders cycle through Plaistow in East London as they head towards the Mall in Central London
En route: Thousands of spectators lined the route between Cambridge and central London today as the riders competed in the 155km stretch of stage 3
Packed in: Crowds cheer as cyclists competing in the Tour de France pass through Parliament Square at the end of the race's third stage
Go on! Crowds cheer as cyclists pass through Parliament Square as they near the end of the race's third stage
Encouragement: A cycling fan celebrates as the pack passes the Houses of Parliament in central London, during the third stage of the Tour de France race
Big Ben: Riders pass through central London during the Tour de France cycling race
Margaret Wood, 57, who made the journey from Cambridgeshire, said: ‘I was hoping to avoid the huge crowd in Cambridge but it's just as packed here.
‘We'll have to make a lot of noise to show Yorkshire that we won't be outdone.’
Crowds also lined the streets of London in an attempt to show their support and get a quick glimpse of the teams.
Mark Forrest, who travelled from Lincolnshire to watch the race, said: ‘I was in Yorkshire both days watching the race and it was incredible.
‘That takes some beating but so far the crowds in London have also been great.
'I've picked a spot on a corner by Big Ben because I'm hoping for a few more thrills and spills.’
In view: Spectators await the pack of riders at Buckingham Palace during the third stage of the Tour de France cycling race
Unusual sight: Figurines of Miffy, the popular Dutch rabbit, are seen above official Tour De France cars, in front of Buckingham Palace in London
Tour de France: Thousands of people lined the streets of central London today as the riders and team cars made their way through the city's streets for the competition
Gathering: Supporters are pictured in front of Buckingham Palace in London during the third stage of the 101st edition of the Tour de France
Getting ready: Fans gather around Buckingham Palace ior stage three of the Tour de France which finished in London this afternoon
Showing support: Fans lined the streets today - including outside Buckingham Palace - as they cheered on the riders on stage three of the Tour
A splendid view: Yellow jersey wearer Vincenzo Nibali (centre) and current champion Chris Froome (right) race past the stunning backdrop of Buckingham Palace
Peloton: The riders cycle past Buckingham Palace as they head towards the big finish at The Mall
Palace: Hundreds of fans chose to watch today's race outside Buckingham Palace and on The Mall as the riders brought stage three to a close
High intensity: Germany's sprinter Marcel Kittel, centre left in black and white jersey, sprints towards the finish line on The Mall to win the third stage
Head down: Marcel Kittel powered to victory in today's stage three of the Tour. The Tour will now move to France where riders will battle it out tomorrow after setting off from Le Touquet to Lille at 12.30pm
Winner: Marcel Kittel looks emotional as he secures victory on the third stage of the Tour which finished in central London
Victory: Marcel Kittel celebrates after winning stage three of the 101st edition of the Tour de France
Theresa Morris, from America, planned her trip to England especially to see the Tour de France.
She said: ‘This could be the only time I see the Tour so I knew I couldn't miss it. I want to be here with the people.
'I want to see how fast (the cyclists) go by you. It's fantastic, to use a British term. The crowds are great. You have to be in London today.’
The Tour's general director Christian Prudhomme suggested the number of spectators on stages one and two could have been as many as 5million.
He declared the opening to the 2014 race ‘the grandest Grand Depart ever’, after two days of racing around Leeds, Harrogate, York and Sheffield.
Handshake: Yellow jersey Vincenzo Nibali of Italy greets Lotto Belisol procycling team rider Mercel Sieberg of Germany before the start of the race
Focus: Spain's Alberto Contador gestures when talking to Italy's Vincenzo Nibali, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, prior to the start of the third stage of the Tour
Strike a pose: Sir Paul Smith tries to take a photograph of himself with Italy's Vincenzo Nibali ahead of today's race
Selfie: Spectators were today warned by the competitors that they could be injured if they step into the path of riders during the race
The selfie craze continues: Two young men take selfies as the cyclists zoom past in the background despite warnings from the riders for spectators to keep well back
Mark of support: Excited cycling fan Alex Dale, 11, (left) from Great Chesterford, waits in the village of Finchingfield in north Essex for the cyclists and right, another young supporter poses for the camera as she waits on the Mall in London
Mr Prudhomme said the huge crowds seen for the second day out on the route were ‘unbelievable, incredible, amazing, astonishing’.
And he said the five-times Tour champion and fellow Frenchman Bernard Hinault had told him he had never seen crowds like it in 40 years of cycling.
However, the selfie craze has hit the Tour - and riders have warned spectators could get seriously hurt if they step into the road to grab pictures.
Tejay van Garderen branded the craze ‘a dangerous mix of vanity and stupidity’ and apparently suffered a knee injury after a collision with a spectator.
‘Standing in the middle of the road with your back turned while 200 cyclists come at you, just to take a selfie. Think,’ said the American.
‘I love the crowds and thank you for your support. But please give us room. Gonna ice my knee now.’
Getting ready: Cycling fans chalk on the road as they wait in the village of Finchingfield in north Essex for the Tour de France to arrive
Nice day for it: Cycling fans wait in Finchingfield for the Tour de France to arrive as it heads from Cambridge into London on stage three of the cycle race
Finchingfield: Chris Froome and Team Sky will be hoping for a drama-free stage three of the Tour de France into London today
Bunting up on cottages: The village of Finchingfield prepares for Stage three of the Tour de France cycling race
His views were echoed by Team Sky rider and British Olympic gold medallist, Geraint Thomas.
‘It was dodgy at times,’ he said. ‘The worst thing is when people have got their backs to the peloton taking selfies.
‘Do that if you want but go sit in a tree. It’s the new pain in the a*** that’s for sure. People don’t understand how fast we go.’
Meanwhile, Tour champion Chris Froome has been taken aback by the level of support for the race, describing the fans as ‘absolutely unbelievable’.
He told 5 News: ‘Going up those climbs yesterday, there were points where you literally just feel the energy from the crowd - it’s absolutely unbelievable.’
Froome said he was surprised by how Britain has taken on the Tour de France, adding: ‘For us, we really couldn’t be asking for much more.’
Many of the most memorable scenes on the first two days of the Tour were on the climbs over Yorkshire's moors.
But enthusiasts hoping for similar ascents on day three would have been disappointed as the stage was extremely flat, with no official climbs.
Tribute: Christine and Hugh Ashford-Hodges outside their cottage which they have decorated to welcome the peloton into the village of Finchingfield
Taking a photo: Fans gather around Buckingham Palace in preparation for stage three of the Tour de France that will finish in London later today
Umbrellas at the ready: The race's average speed is 25mph (40kmph), and the event is due to pass through Central London at about 3.50pm
Allez! People line the streets of the Tour de France race route outside Buckingham Palace
Watching: People look at the third stage of the 101st edition of the Tour de France cycling race on a giant screen at the 'Fan Park' at Green Park in London
The route took in towns like Chelmsford and Saffron Walden as well as London's Olympic Park. The highest point was at Epping Forest, at 354ft (108m).
Today's race finished on The Mall, after a closing section which will pass many of London famous landmarks.
'As the world's largest annual sporting event prepares to make a triumphant return to our city, London is geared up and raring to go'
Mayor of London Boris Johnson
The last few miles were along the River Thames before it passed the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace.
The finish line was where the bike races ended in the London 2012 Olympics.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: ‘As the world's largest annual sporting event prepares to make a triumphant return to our city, London is geared up and raring to go.
‘After months of meticulous planning we are set to deliver a sporting spectacle that will be beamed to an audience of billions across the globe, showcasing some of our finest landmarks and most picturesque views.
‘I wish every rider taking part in this gruelling endeavour the best of luck - I'm sure they will no doubt inspire even more Londoners to take to two wheels. Chapeau!’
Watching out: Fans gather around Buckingham Palace in preparation for stage three of the Tour de France that will finish in London later today
Getting a good seat: Thousands of people sit next to the Tour de France route in Central London to watch the arrival of the third stage
Taken away: Bare-breasted activists from feminist movement Femen protest against FGM (female genital mutilation) in Parliament Square, central London
How it works: These graphics show the Tour de France for July through England and France (left) and the route for stage three today from Cambridge to London (right)
Feeling flat: The first day of the Tour (left) was crammed with steep inclines which proved hard work for the riders - and yesterday was similar (right)
All eyes on the Tour: Team Sky's Sir Dave Brailsford today insisted his priority remains winning the Tour de France with a British rider after earlier stating his wish to help find a first French winner since 1985
Patriotic: Royal fanatic Terry Hutt on The Mall gets ready for stage three of the Tour de France as it finishes in London
The day comes after 2million cycling fans are thought to have lined the York to Sheffield route on a brutal and unpredictable day of racing.
CYCLIST REJECTED BY PODIUM GIRL
Italy's Vincenzo Nibali launched a late attack to win stage two of the race in North, West and South Yorkshire and claim the race leader's yellow jersey.
Nibali (Astana), the 2013 Giro d'Italia champion, left it late but timed his bid to the line to perfection to secure victory ahead of rivals for the overall title.
He also claimed the race leader's maillot jaune, from stage one winner Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano), who endured a difficult day.
It came after a devastated Mark Cavendish ruled himself out of the Tour yesterday after suffering a shoulder injury in a crash on the opening stage.
The Omega Pharma-QuickStep sprinter confirmed he would not start the second stage from York to Sheffield due to the pain caused on the first day of the race.
The 25-times Tour stage winner separated a joint between his right shoulder and collarbone when he tumbled to the tarmac on stage one in Harrogate.
He collided with Australian Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) in a frantic finale as Giant-Shimano's Marcel Kittel won the stage and the yellow jersey.
‘I'm absolutely devastated,’ 29-year-old Cavendish said at York Racecourse. ‘We kind of knew [Saturday] night. We knew straight away.
‘I normally bounce back from some crashes quite well. I assessed my body [on Saturday] and for the first time in my career I knew something was wrong.
Sitting back: Spectators in St James' Park watch the start of stage three of the Tour de France on a giant screen
Spot the cyclist: Tour de France-themed topiary in St James's Park, central London, as the world's most famous cycle race moves south for stage three
Team members: Members of Icknield Road Club from Luton, Bedfordshire, wait in the village of Finchingfield in north Essex for the Tour de France
On your bike, son: Spectators in St James' Park ahead of the arrival of stage three of the Tour de France today
‘I was in pain [Saturday] night. I held a bit of optimism that it was maybe just swelling and would go down overnight, but it's actually worse [yesterday] morning.
KEY TOUR TIMINGS TODAY
It is still uncertain if Cavendish will be able to participate in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow for the Isle of Man.
Cavendish was pursuing a first yellow jersey of his distinguished career in his mother's hometown when he crashed 380 yards (350 metres) from the end.
It is the first time since 2008 - when he left prematurely to prepare for the Beijing Olympics - that Cavendish will not complete the Tour.
The 2011 points classification winner and world champion won in Paris for four consecutive years from 2009 to 2012.
Le Grand Depart is set to provide a £100million boost to the Yorkshire economy, with £6million spent by councils on filling potholes and repairing road.
However there were calls from police for spectators to stay back from the course after several near misses when fans got too close on Saturday.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2683149/Tour-France-hits-London-German-Marcel-Kittel-winning-stage-three-Cambridge-sprint.html#ixzz36pO1lTy9
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