Riders take to Twitter after three days that will live long in the memory

Stars of the peloton have taken to Twitter to say goodbye to Britain – or should that be “au revoi?r” – following a three day Grand Départ that has seen unprecedented crowds flock to watch the race. Here’s our round-up of some of the best.

First, here's defending champion Chris Froome thanked the fans who came out for the race – and did a montage of #VaVaFroome shots.

Fans’ favourite Jens Voigt of Trek Factory Racing got his record-equalling 17th Tour de France off to a start in style, going on a solo break on Stage 1 from Leeds to Harrogate and spending the next day in the polka dot jersey.

Two-time winner Alberto Contador, looking to win his crown back, was also struck by the support shown by the fans who lined the roads.

Simon Gerrans, who crashed in the finale of Stage 1 in Harrogate when Mark Cavendish leant into him.

Some riders were relieved to have emerged from the three days unscathed, however; Lotto-Belisol’s Jurgen Roelandts, quoted on his team website, said:

I'm glad I got out of this English start in one piece. Because of the massive crowds along the English roads it was dangerous these past days. Also today it was hectic again. You had to watch out and especially stay concentrated to avoid crashing. Spectators that take pictures on the middle of the road, narrow roads and a deafening noise can give dangerous situations. Luckily the team got out undamaged.

While team cars and buses had to cope with chaos caused by the closure yesterday of the Channel Tunnel, there were no such problems for the riders, who made their way to France in two chartered planes.

Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas may have issues with fans taking selfies by the roadside – but as you can see, he’s not averse to snapping the odd one himself.

Not all riders made it through the airport without mishap, however, as this tweet from Marcel Kittel, winner of Stages 1 and 3, shows.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.