Tour de France starts in Mont Saint-Michel
Mont Saint-Michel (France), July 2 (IANS) The 103rd edition of the Tour de France cycling competition started on Saturday at Mont Saint-Michel, one of the most popular tourist hotspots in the country.
It was at this iconic tidal island monastery in Normandy, where the general director of the Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme, blew the starting whistle, reports Efe.
A total of 198 cyclists, led by the yellow jersey wearer, Chris Froome, winner of the last Tour de France, started towards their first destination, Utah beach, one of the four Allied beachheads during the Normandy landings of the Second World War.
A ceremony will be held after the first stage in a nearby cemetery, providing the cyclists an opportunity to lay flowers at the peace monument.
Contrary to previous editions, this year's Tour de France started with a classic stage -- a 188 km run across the plains that follow the north Atlantic coast.
The yellow jersey is expected to be worn by a "sprinter" after this initial stage.
Until July 24, when the cyclists are due to arrive at the Champs Elysee in Paris, the competitors will cover 3,535km in 21 stages, two of which are to be individually timed.