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Live Reporting

Chris Osborne

All times stated are UK

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  1. On to stage two

    Utrecht - Zelande, 166km (103.14 miles)

    Tour de France stage two profile

    This is the Tour de France folks, no time to dwell on today, we're already thinking about tomorrow.

    In classic Dutch style, stage two is as flat as a steamrollered pancake. But it's along the coast and could be literally blown all over the place.

    I'll leave you with Geraint Thomas's assessment of day two, and you can read his full breakdown of the route here. Join us again tomorrow for more coverage.

    "This will probably be the most stressful day of the whole year's racing. It's along the coast and if there are a lot of crosswinds, that could split the race into groups. The teams with riders aiming for the yellow jersey will be trying to keep their guys at the front of the peloton so they don't lose time."

  2. 'It's a dream'

    Rohan Dennis has been speaking on ITV4: "Everything went perfect. We went with the tactic of going out early and setting a benchmark and making everyone chase me. There's a bit of shock. To wear the Tour de France yellow jersey - it's a dream. I always wanted to be in this position and now I am."

  3. Post update

    Rob Hayles

    Former GB cyclist on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "It's been an incredible stage today. All the talk should be about Rohan Dennis. Five seconds ahead of Tony Martin? It's fantastic. Aside from that it's about the GC riders and they are all there or there abouts within a few seconds of each other."

  4. Race for yellow

    What about the GC chasers?

    It's nice and tight. Just 20 seconds separate the five men expected to challenge for the yellow jersey.

    Pinot - 15mins 37secs

    Nibali - 15 mins 39secs

    Froome - 15mins 46secs

    Contador - 15mins 54secs

    Quintana - 15mins 57secs

  5. Result after stage one

    Yellow Jersey


    1. Dennis - 14mins 56secs

    2. Martin - +5secs

    3. Cancellara - +6secs

    4. Dumoulin - +8secs

    5. Van Emden - +15secs

  6. Rohan Dennis wins first stage

    Yellow Jersey


    Vincenzo Nibali is the last man over the line, but the 2014 Tour de France winner is not threatening Rohan Dennis's big moment in the Utrecht sun.

    Nibali crosses in 15mins and 39secs - we'll get on to how that affects the GC in a moment.

    But for now, just linger on Dennis's achievement. It was the fastest ever time trial at a Tour de France and five seconds quicker than Tony Martin. Castroviejo, in sixth, was a whopping 23 seconds back - nowhere near.

  7. Dennis delight

    Not all the riders are in yet, but it's just dawned on Rohan Dennis that there is nobody left out there who can beat him.

    A lady, who I can only assume is Mrs Dennis, is in floods of tears as she grasps him tightly. It's an emotional scene.

    The Australian possesses the yellow jersey.

  8. Froome finishes

    Alberto Contador with possibly the biggest grimace of the day. The pain is obvious. He's over in 15mins 54secs.

    And now Chris Froome crosses, anguish written all over his face. It's 15mins 46secs for the Brit, which puts him eight seconds up on Contador and 13 seconds behind Pinot, who is the big winner today.

  9. Race for yellow jersey

    Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali will have GC rivals Thibaut Pinot and Nairo Quintana in their thoughts.

    Pinot recorded 15mins 37secs, with Quintana 20 seconds further back. Who will lay down an early marker?

  10. 'Very, very disappointed'

    Tony Martin

    Tony Martin, in second, has spoken to French TV.

    "I'm very, very disappointed. I wanted to win. Any other result is a bad one. I feel that I couldn't handle the heat, especially in the second half where I felt weaker. It was hot but that's the Tour de France, it's in July and this time trial wasn't long enough for me."

  11. Cancellara third

    It's a trademark gritty effort from Fabian Cancellara, but it's just short. The Swiss is seven seconds off Dennis and is in third. Cancellara is sat on a kerb with way too many people trying to gather around him - give the man space!

    Meanwhile, the reigning champion Vincenzo Nibali has got his title defence under way.

  12. Tweet us via #bbccycling

    Stephen Shaw: Prediction for Tour: Quintana to win, Nibali second, Pinot third. Best of luck to all

    Ian Waterfall: Dennis quicker than Martin!!! C'mon Fabian!! Great start to TDF2015

    Get involved using #bbccycling

  13. Top five

    After 174 riders have finished

    1. Dennis - 14mins 56secs

    2. Martin - +5secs

    3. Dumoulin - +8secs

    4. Van Emden - +15secs

    5. Castroviejo - +23secs

  14. Contador and Froome start

    Alberto Contador, chasing a rare Giro and Tour double, is away. You can't miss him, that yellow Tinkoff-Saxo jersey can be seen from Jupiter.

    And one minute behind him is Chris Froome. The Briton is under way.

  15. Post update

    A couple of decent times for Brits in the bank. Geraint Thomas, the Commonwealth champion, is 11th, a place ahead of Alex Dowsett.

    But big shout out to Stephen Cummings, who gone ninth in 15 minutes and 28 seconds, 32 seconds off the top.

  16. Post update

    Peter Sagan, a rival to Mark Cavendish for the green sprint jersey, is done for the day. It's not a bad effort to be fair. The Slovakian, who took the green jersey last year, is done in 15mins 37secs and is 18th.

  17. Post update

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra


    Don't forget you can listen to the stage on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra. The team have a pretty good view, and have sent us this snap of Tony Martin heading for the line.

  18. Post update

    Rob Hayles

    Former GB cyclist on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "I feel Cancellara is just past his best. I think even he would say that. But he will go out there today and give everything he has got."

  19. Spartacus!

    Off you go Spartacus. Fabian Cancellara is ready for battle. What has the 34-year-old Swiss and eight-time Tour stage winner got in the tank?

  20. Tweet us via #bbccycling

    John McEnerney: Quintana & Contador to go at it for the title can see Nibali being close but not close enough!

    Use #bbccycling to get involved

  21. Martin goes second

    It seems that Rohan Dennis can't be beaten. Tony Martin crosses the line and is five seconds slower than the Australian.

    Dennis puffs out his cheeks in relief. He knew the German was probably the biggest threat to him owning the yellow jersey tonight.

  22. Martin three seconds off

    Tony Martin passed the 7.1km mark three seconds off Rohan Dennis's time at the same time. We've learned that Dennis put on the turbo chargers from this point though.

  23. Post update

    After a bit of controversy earlier, Lars Boom is off the ramp and on the road. Meanwhile, Germany's Tony Martin is looking strong, but strong enough?

  24. Post update

    Matt Slater

    BBC Sport at the Tour de France

    "'Bicycles change lives' is the MTN-Qhubeka motto and Ryder says that can certainly be the case for the coming generation of East African riders, which will be a great story for a sport that is still very European.

    "Ryder's challenge is to keep the show on the road but his South African sponsors seem to be delighted with the exposure they are getting, even if the 14 rands to the euro exchange rate does not help them."

  25. Post update

    Matt Slater

    BBC Sport at the Tour de France

    "Whilst we wait to see what the later starters can do with that helpful tailwind over the back half of the course, let me tell you about one of the most popular teams in the car park today: new boys MTN-Qhubeka.

    "The South African-based and financed outfit has been on quite a journey to get here but team principal Doug Ryder was happy enough to share the tale with the dozens of journalists and well-wishers who ventured over to his corner of tarmac.

    "Much has been made of the potential physiological advantages that the team's East African riders might have - the Eritrean home of Daniel Teklaimanot and Merhawi Kudus is more than 2,000m above sea level - but Ryder believes it is their will-to-win that could make the difference as soon as they get to grips with the argy-bargy and tactics of pro racing."

  26. Dowsett seventh

    Britain's Alex Dowsett has drifted a bit in the final few kilometres. The Tour de France debutant, racing for Movistar, prefers the longer time trials, and his time of 15mins 32secs is 36 seconds off Dennis and puts him seventh. He's top of the Brits though.

  27. Dennis retains lead

    Hmm. Maybe not that close. Dumoulin comes in eight seconds behind Rohan Dennis's leading time and goes into second. So no Dutch yellow jersey wearer as it stands.

    Who has two thumbs, a big smile and is still in the lead? Rohan Dennis. The Aussie is shown on screen looking pretty happy with that result. Sure his time cannot be beaten?

  28. Post update

    Tom Dumoulin, with the whole of Utrecht manically screaming him on, has his head down. A slight incline in the final kilometre. This is going to be close...

  29. Dowsett in contention

    And what about Alex Dowsett? He flies through the 7.1km mark just four seconds off Dennis's time at the same stage. What can he do in the final stretch?

  30. Dumoulin one second behind

    Now, how's Dumoulin at the 7.1km time check?

    He's one second slower than Rohan Dennis was at the same distance, so he's bang in this. Although Dennis's second half of the 13.8km was lightning quick, so it's all to play for.

  31. Post update

    German Tony Martin, a three-time world time trial champion, is up in about 15 minutes. He's been sparked into action by Rohan Dennis's effort and has apparently increased the size of his gear wheel - I hear it's as big as a space hopper.

  32. Post update

    The big names keep coming. GB's Alex Dowsett is flying into the stage. At least I assume he is. The Dutch broadcaster is understandably predisposed with Dumoulin, and I think he's all we'll see for the next 10 minutes or so.

  33. Post update

    Here we go, things are getting serious, serious, serious. Dutch boy Tom Dumoulin is off the ramp and on the tarmac, legs pumping.

    He's nippy in a time trial and has home support. He takes the corners a few inches away from the barriers, behind which there are thousands of locals going bananas. Wonderful scenes.

  34. Post update

    How do you psyche yourself up before hitting the road? Mark Cavendish has the answer...

    The Manxman finished in 16 minutes and 22 seconds earlier this afternoon. Well, he was never going to challenge the big guns today was he?

  35. Post update


    There really could be many worse places to be today than in Utrecht. Blazing sunshine, waving, cheering fans, top-notch time trialing. It's not bad at all.

  36. Top five

    After 124 finishers

    1. Dennis - 14mins 56secs

    2. Van Emden - +15secs

    3. Castroviejo - +23secs

    4. Kelderman - +30secs

    5. Gesink - +33secs

  37. Get Involved

    You can join the conversation using #bbcycling on Twitter, or by texting us on 81111 in the UK only.

  38. They call me mellow yellow


    There's a bit of chat about the Tinkoff - Saxo kit. Fluroscent yellow is an excellent colour for road safety, although visibility is pretty good in Utrecht at the moment, so there's little risk of a Vauxhall Corsa pulling out on you on a roundabout.

    Anyway. The consensus is it's a bit naff. What do you think?

  39. Post update

    Rob Hayles

    Former GB cyclist on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "The GC riders cannot afford to back off and have to go full gas. Froome is a strong time trialist, certainly one of the strongest among the GC guys."

  40. Pinot on point


    He's not a noted time trialist, but this is a tidy shift from FDJ's Thibaut Pinot.

    The Frenchman is round in 15 minutes and 37 seconds, which is 41 seconds off the lead, but more importantly, it's 20 seconds quicker than potential GC rival Nairo Quintara.

  41. Post update

    Rob Hayles

    Former GB cyclist on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "We have a race in a race, firstly with those guys wanting to win the stage. Tony Martin was my favourite but he really has his work cut out. What an incredible pace has been set by Rohan Dennis. Then the second race is that race between the GC contenders - they have their own battle to try and not lose too much time."

  42. Post update

    Britain's Peter Kennaugh, tongue sticking out of gritted teeth, legs pumping, propels over the line.

    The national road race champion is done in 16mins 4secs and is 30th.

  43. Post update

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Coverage is under way on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra. You can listen by clicking the play button at the top of the page.

  44. Post update

    There's very few capable of beating Rohan Dennis's time but Trek's Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara is certainly one of them. 

    He'll be out on the road from 16:03 BST.

  45. Official: Quickest ever time trial

    Chris Boardman

    Le Tour have confirmed that Rohan Dennis is a monster.

    The Australian's average speed of 55.446kph over the 13.8km has eclipsed Chris Boardman's 55.152kph over 7.2km in Lille in 1994. It's the quickest time trial in a Tour de France ever.

    That's Boardman in the yellow jersey in the photo above.

  46. Post update

    Matt Slater

    BBC Sport at the Tour de France

    "I caught up with UCI boss Brian Cookson in the team paddock earlier - he was wandering about being presidential.

    "He told me Astana's latest tangle was a popular topic of conversation, although he looked relieved it was more of an issue for the teams' voluntary group the Movement for Credible Cycling than something on his doorstep.

    "He was very pleased to tell me, though, that the UCI had started overnight drug-testing - no longer can riders close their doors to the testers between 11pm and 6am. A few other sports might want to try that.

    "Cookson's compliance teams will be busy, then, as he has also warned teams that the UCI will impound team trucks to test all bikes for hidden battery-powered motors.

    "Sounds like a joke, doesn't it? But the technology exists and they used to say the same thing about blood transfusions."

  47. GB finisher

    Mark Cavendish

    Simon Yates is the highest ranked Briton in the Tour de France.

    He's over in 15 minutes and 42 seconds, 46 seconds off the lead and in 13th place.

    The other Brits look like this: Ian Stannard 26th, Mark Cavendish 52nd and Luke Rowe 82nd.

  48. Post update

    Thibaut Pinot, like an underappreciated grigio (I've been waiting two hours to do that joke), is a few people's dark horse to challenge the big four for the GC. He's out on the flat Utrecht roads with the noise of yelling Dutchman in his ear.

  49. Post update

    We've got a while to wait to see if Rohan Dennis's time can be challenged. Tom Dumoulin will give it a good crack at 15:25 BST, with Alex Dowsett going three minutes after that.

    What about Spartacus? Fabian Cancellara is one of the last ones out of the shed at 16:03.

  50. Top five

    After 84 riders finish

    1. Dennis - 14mins 56 secs

    2. Van Emden - +15secs

    3. Castroviejo - +23secs

    4. Kelderman - +30secs

    5. Gesink - +33secs

  51. Post update

    Rohan Dennis

    It's also worth noting that Rohan Dennis was a second behind Jos van Emden at the halfway mark. He then made up 14 seconds across the next 6.9km. However you look at it, it's a marvellous ride.

  52. Post update

    Simon Brotherton

    BBC cycling commentator on Twitter

    "Leader so far. Fastest ave speed in TDF TT ever. 55.45kmph."

    There's slight disparity in Rohan Dennis's average speed, but it seems indisputable that it is the quickest time trial ever in the Tour.

  53. Post update

  54. 'What is my time worth?

    Nairo Quintana has spoken to French TV after his 1-minute 57-second time trial. He's the first GC contender to finish, so will sit back with a coffee and perhaps a tasty waffle while his rivals dig out their own times.

    "That was a very demanding race. Yesterday I felt good. I don't know what my time is worth. I'm only interested to know where I stand compared to the other GC riders, not the time trial specialists who are ahead of me now."

  55. Tweet us via #bbccycling

    Ian McCormack: Just covered 14km around Manchester in 37 minutes. Where am I in comparison to the TdF boys? Time bonus for doing it in traffic?

    Join the conversation using #bbccycling on Twitter, or text us on 81111 in the UK only. And if you are texting in, don't forget to include your name and location.

  56. Post update

    Matt Slater

    BBC Sport at the Tour de France

    "Now that I've cooled down enough to think I am able to compute just how good that ride was by Australia's Rohan Dennis. He was many people's pre-stage tip to set the early target but the former world hour record-holder has just put in a seriously impressive quarter of an hour in Utrecht. Will anybody beat it?

    "Some very good time trialists have already finished - Richie Porte and Rigoberto Uran, for example - without getting very close to Rohan's ride. We will know more in an hour or so when Tom Dumoulin, Alex Dowsett and German machine Tony Martin have had their say."

  57. Quintana done


    That's 13.8km down, just another 3,346 to go before we find out if Nairo Quintana will be a Tour de France winner.

    The Colombian is 16th out of the 66 finishers, one minute and one second by Dennis's leading time of 14mins 56secs.

  58. Record speed?

    We're starting to get an idea of just how ridiculously quick Rohan Dennis was across that 13.8km stage.

    His average speed was 55.2kph, which ITV are reporting as a record average speed in a Tour de France time trial. It's an absolute sizzler.

  59. 'A bonus minute'

    Leader Rohan Dennis has spoken to "It was my goal to do well. It was pretty smooth. It was very long on the way home. I kept thinking sixteen minutes because that was my time at training. In the end I got one minute bonus. Let's wait and see now. It looks like it's going to be a long time on the hot seat."

  60. Top five

    1. Dennis - 14mins 56secs

    2. Van Emden +15secs

    3. Castroviejo +23secs

    4. Kelderman +30secs

    5. Gesink +33secs

  61. Tweet us via #bbccycling

    Matt Taggert: "It's TdF time again! No relentless Cav-support today, it's got to be Dowsett to get the yellow!"

    Alex Dowsett to do it on his Tour debut? It's what dreams are made of. What do you think? Use #bbccycling on twitter or text on 81111 and tell us your name.

  62. Post update

    Our first yellow jersey contender is away. Nairo Quintana has been a lot of people's tip to win the GC. He won't be winning the stage today, it's not his bag, but he's off aggressively and there's plenty of noise from some of the tens of thousands of Dutch who have lined the Utrecht street.

    There is a bit of mystery around Quintana's form, with the climber having hidden himself away in his native Colombia for most of his training.

  63. Tweet us via #bbccycling

    Andrew Harvey: What a marker from @RohanDennis!! Very tough time to beat #TDF2015 #TDFutrecht

    Can it be beaten? Join the conversation at #bbccyling

  64. New leader

    Rohan Dennis

    Anyone who hasn't been out yet has just sat up and spat out their coffee. Australian Rohan Dennis has set a bonza time of 14mins 56secs.

    That's a cool 15 seconds quicker than Jos van Emden. It's going to be tough to beat, especially when you consider the pre-stage estimated time was around the 17-minute mark.

  65. Cav is done

    This is the shortest day's work (apart from rest days) over the coming three weeks. There's enough time to get your time trial done and then grab an ice cream.

    Mark Cavendish is done. Today is not a day for the sprinter, he's down in 20th in 16 mins 22 secs, one minute 11 seconds behind the leader Jos van Emden.

  66. Post update

    Matt Slater

    BBC Sport at the Tour de France

    Tour de France

    "The world's biggest annual sports event has started and it is not a day for the faint of heart or fair of skin ... it is only a few degrees cooler than Qatar.

    "But that has not stopped half a million fans from turning out to watch the 198 riders blitz around a 13.8km loop of this bike-mad Dutch city.

    "Sure, many have to see the 'big four' of Alberto Contador, Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana and Vincenzo Nibali, but there are 21 Dutch riders in the field and in Tom Dumoulin they have an excellent chance of seeing a compatriot wear the yellow jersey for the first time since 1989.

    "He goes at 1525 UK time, two minutes before the British contingent's best hope of success today, Alex Dowsett, although Chris Froome will fancy laying down a marker, too.

    "In the meantime, I am going to find some shade and a smoothie. And a hat."

  67. Post update

    One of today's big boys is out of the blocks. Australian Rohan Dennis, who held the hour record this year before Alex Dowsett and then Bradley Wiggins broke it, is on the Utrecht roads. We'll keep an eye on his time.

  68. Stannard finishes

    Ian Stannard is the first Brit over the line. The Team Sky rider is fifth of the 25 riders to finish, clocking a time of 16mins 7secs. Leader Jos van Emden is 56 seconds quicker.

  69. Dreaming of yellow

    Alex Dowsett

    Britain's Alex Dowsett, a contender in this time-trial stage, has just spoken to ITV. He goes off at 15:28 BST.

    "It will be a hard fought battle. it's a massive dream to take yellow. Hopefully I will be at the sharp end of it, but my main job here is to help Nairo Quintana win it."

  70. Cav is off

    There is a steely look of determination on the face of the Mark Cavendish as he starts his 2015 Tour de France. The Manx Missile will battle for the green jersey this year, after a miserable Tour 12 months ago that ended with a fall in Harrogate.

  71. Post update

    We have our first finishers!

    Daniel Teklehaimanot, our friend who started everything off, is over the line in 16 mins 30 secs. He's already down to fifth though, with Jos Van Emden of the Netherlands quickest on 15 mins 11 secs.

  72. 'I have not done anything dodgy'

    Lars Boom, the Astana rider, has spoken to Dutch TV about the low level of cortisol in a test today. To be clear, it's not a failed drugs test, but Astana have signed up to an agreement to pull out riders for eight days after such occurrences. As it stands, Boom will race.

    "You look forward to the start, then you hear after the press conference that you have low cortisol level. I didn't expect it. I was lying on the bed when the doctor came in and told me. I've been using a puffer for my asthma for 10 years and I was sick after the Dauphine. Maybe these things have an affect. I have always been 100% against doping. I have not done anything dodgy."

  73. Did someone mention beer?

    I may have made reference to beer once or twice in the first 45 minutes of our text broadcast, and it seems some of you are thinking along the same lines.

    Get involved using #bbccycling

  74. Post update

    Daniel Teklehaimanot

    We've just seen our first pictures of Teklehaimanot starting the 2015 Tour, and the 26-year-old has a smile as large as his native Eritrea. It's a proud moment.

  75. Post update

    The first Brit goes off in just a few minutes time. Ian Stannard of Team Sky begins his race at 13:18. Stannard is the 2012 national road race champion.

  76. Post update

    It's actually a historic moment for Daniel Teklehaimanot and the Tour de France. The Eritrean is the first black African to take part in the Tour.

  77. Post update

    Daniel Teklehaimanot has got the Tour de France under way. The Eritrean national champion, riding for South African outfit MTN-Qhubeka, is off the ramp and the rest are coming every minute afterwards.

  78. Tweet us via #bbccycling

    Are you putting on your polka dots? Laying on the yellow? Looking glamorous in green?

    Get in touch throughout the stage by using #bbccycling on Twitter, and give us your predictions, opinions and thoughts.

  79. Stormy weather?


    There's mixed reports on the weather in Utrecht, but there is potential for some thunderstorms this afternoon. If it comes, it will probably affect the early starters. Later on it should be bright and sunny.

    We're two minutes away from the start of the Tour de France...

  80. Astana controversy

    And speaking of the Astana situation, here is the BBC's Matt Slater on Twitter.

  81. Boom in or out?

    Lars Boom

    There has been a bit of controversy surrounding Astana rider Lars Boom this morning.

    Boom has tested for low levels of cortisol, which is not a drugs tests failure. But, Astana are signed up to a MPCC (Movement for Credible Cycling) agreement which says riders will sit our the next eight days after such a result.

    The UCI have said they cannot replace Bloom, so Astana, according to reports, will disregard the MPCC agreement and start Boom anyway.

    It's a fillip for team-mate Vincenzo Nibali, who would have used the Dutchman to help him through the early stages.

  82. Kilometres, euros and mountains

    Le Tour in numbers

    Tour graphic
  83. Post update

    Geraint Thomas

    Team Sky's six-time Tour de France rider

    "It's a short but twisty circuit, so that will favour a punchier rider. Germany's time-trial champion Tony Martin has that raw power but I think the course might suit Dutchman Tom Dumoulin a bit better. Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara will be there too, and his form looked to be improving at the recent Tour de Suisse."

    Geraint has given us a stage-by-stage breakdown of this year's route. It's top notch and you can read it here.

  84. Cartoon cycling

    Britain's Chris Froome had time for a few tweets this morning. A little bit of manga to get you going before the TT...

  85. Today's key times

    Mark Cavendish

    Here's when a few of the Brits, plus some of the big names, will be setting off today (all times BST):

    • 13:32 - Mark Cavendish
    • 13:55 - Simon Yates
    • 14:00 - Nairo Quintana
    • 15:01 - Adam Yates
    • 15:25 - Tom Dumoulin
    • 15:28 - Alex Dowsett
    • 15:44 - Tony Martin
    • 15:52 - Geraint Thomas
    • 16:03 - Fabian Cancellara
    • 16:13 - Alberto Contador
    • 16:14 - Chris Froome
    • 16:17 - Vincenzo Nibali
  86. What happens today?

    Individual time trial: Utrecht - Utrecht, 13.8km (8.57 miles)

    Tour de France stage one

    It's only 13.8km, but today's individual time trial will have a bearing on where the yellow jersey-chasers sit after a technical and gruelling first week, before they hit the big climbs with regularity.

    At 13:00 BST, MTN-Qhubeka's Daniel Teklehaimanot (hopefully I won't have to type that one too many times) will be the first man to launch into the time trial around the city, with another rider setting off every minute afterwards.

    Chris Froome goes at 16:14, with champion Vincenzo Nibali the last to go at 16:17.

    Britain's Alex Dowsett, who held the hour record until Bradley Wiggins smashed it recently, is a time-trial specialist and is in with a sniff of taking the stage on his Tour debut.

  87. Who are the contenders?

    (l-r) Chris Froome, Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana

    It promises to be a four-way brawl for the yellow jersey, with the contenders being:

    • Chris Froome (GB), Team Sky, 2013 Tour winner
    • Alberto Contador (Spa), Tinkoff-Saxo, 2007 and 2009 Tour winner
    • Vincenzo Nibali (Ita), Astana, reigning Tour champion
    • Nairo Quintana (Col), Movistar, Tour runner-up in 2013

    The route is being touted as one of the toughest for a while, and the first week could be crucial, combining this time trial, a team time trial, cobbles and a windy coastal affair. Then we get into the undulations of the Pyrenees and the Alps.

    This breakdown by BBC Sport's Peter Scrivener and Patrick Jennings is a very good place to get the rundown.

  88. The race for yellow


    And so, this is where it begins, the 102nd edition of the Tour de France, with a time trial in the picturesque city of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

    The Dutch love getting on a bike, and if there's anything we know about the Netherlands, after tulips, windmills and excellent beer, it's that it's flat as a pancake.

    Today's time trial is 13.8km long and gets going at 13:00 BST. On 4 July, after 3,360km of racing, we'll be in Paris, and will know who will be donning the yellow jersey.

  89. Utrecht, Tour de France and beer

    Chris Froome

    All the best things happen in the pub.

    Whether it's announcing the scientific discovery behind the structure of life, Ken Barlow punching Mike Baldwin in the Rovers Return, or the beginning of a dream to have the Tour de France start in Utrecht.

    Thirteen years ago, Jeroen Wielaert's plan to host the Grand Depart in the Dutch city was merely a design scribbled on the back of a beer mat. Today it becomes reality.