Sir Paul Smith, an avowed cycling fan, has designed posters celebrating the Tour de France’s three UK stages after a request from the Department of Culture. They can be downloaded free from his website.

He said: “They’re going to the county councils and town halls where the starts and finishes are. I suggested we should offer them as a download. Several thousand people have already downloaded them – they’ve proved really popular.”

Sir Paul, who will be following the Tour from a race car today as it heads from Cambridge to London, told me: “Cycling has just come up leaps and bounds since the Olympics. After the disappointment of the football and the tennis, it would be absolutely joyous if we got another British win.”