101st Tour de France starts in England

101st Tour de France starts in England

Credit: Getty Images

(From L) Spain's Alberto Contador, Britain's Mark Cavendish, Britain's Christopher Froome and Germany's Andre Greipel wait for the start of the 190.5 km first stage of the 101st edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 5, 2014 between Leeds and Harrogate, northern England. The 2014 Tour de France gets underway on July 5 in the streets of Leeds and ends on July 27 down the Champs-Elysees in Paris. AFP PHOTO / JEFF PACHOUD (Photo credit should read JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images)

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by Associated Press

KMOV.com

Posted on July 5, 2014 at 7:42 AM

Updated Saturday, Jul 5 at 7:45 AM

LEEDS, England (AP) -- The 198 competitors in the 101st Tour de France have started their grueling three-week ride through four countries before ending the world’s greatest cycling race in Paris on July 27.

Saturday’s 190.5-kilometer (118.4-mile) Stage 1 takes the pack on a rolling loop along the bucolic English countryside from Leeds to Harrogate—a layout that could be tailor-made for a sprinter to win.

Click here to see photos from the race: Computer / Mobile

Many enthusiastic Union Jack-waving fans on the course are hoping that Britain’s Mark Cavendish, one of the world’s great sprinters, will win this first of three tour legs in England before the race enters France. It would be Cavendish’s first ever yellow jersey.

A three-man breakaway got out early, including Germany’s Jens Voigt who, at age 42, is the oldest rider in the pack this year.

The Duchess of Cambridge was expected to bestow the first race leader’s yellow jersey at the day’s awards ceremony. Watched by her husband Prince William and his brother Prince Harry, Kate cut the race ribbon at the start of the first leg which also featured a flyover by aeronautical display team the Red Arrows.

Overall race favorites are defending champion Chris Froome, a 29-year-old Kenyan-born Briton who leads Team Sky, and two-time champ Alberto Contador.

In all, the riders will cover 3,664 kilometers (2,277 miles) of roads in England, France, Belgium and Spain.

 

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