Copenhagen hosts the start of the Tour de France

COPENHAGEN — The Tour de France took off on Friday, and it was Jeremy Lecroq who was the first rider to set off for the individual time trial contested in the center of Copenhagen.

Large parts of the Danish capital were closed for the first stage of the race, with downpour making sections of the 13-kilometre route potentially dangerous for cyclists – particularly the stretch through Amalienborg Palace Square, the residence main house of the royal family of Denmark, which is formed of cobblestones.

The Swiss Stefan Bissegger became the first victim of a fall, but he was able to get back on his bike and continue the stage.

The time trial also passes some of Copenhagen’s other best-known landmarks, including the Little Mermaid statue, sitting on her perch at the entrance to the harbour. .

The rain had stopped by the time the race started, but the roads were still soaked.

Among the thousands of fans, some of whom waved the red and white Danish flag, was the country’s prime minister, Mette Frederiksen.

« It’s great to watch, » Frederiksen said. I grew up with my father glued to the television screen to watch the Tour de France.

This is the first time the classic has started in Denmark.

Earlier on Friday, Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik went for a ride along the course.

« I just did the bike ride. It’s great to see the great support for the Tower here,” commented Frederik, 54, wearing a helmet, shorts and t-shirt. The palace also posted photos of Danish royals riding bicycles on Instagram, including Frederik’s great-grandfather, King Christian X and current Queen Margrethe.

The three-week race includes two more stages in Denmark, including crossing the Great Belt Bridge that connects the island of Zealand, where Copenhagen is located, and the central island of Funen.

The start in Denmark – the 24th time the race has taken off outside France – was due to take place in 2021 but was postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After the Danish stages, the riders will go to France with a stage between Dunkirk and Calais.

Slovenian Tadej Pogacar won the Tour for the third consecutive time last year and he is a big favorite to defend his title. The race ends in Paris on July 24.

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