Tour de France Kicks Off With First Two Stages in England



Vincenzo-nibali
Italy's Vincenzo Nibali points to his shirt as he crosses the finish line ahead of the sprinting pack to win the second stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 124.9 miles with start in York and finish in Sheffield, England, on July 6, 2014.

The most famous bicycle race in the world, the Tour de France, kicked off this weekend with its first two stages, which were held in the UK countryside.
For this year's race, 198 competitors are participating in the Tour de France. The race will take them through a grueling three-week ride through four countries, ending in the Champs Elysees in Paris on July 27. On Saturday, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, bestowed the first race leader, the winner of the first stage Marcel Kittel, the coveted Yellow Jersey at the day's awards ceremony.

The first stage went from Leeds to Harrogate. On Sunday, Vincenzo Nibali topped all racers in the second stage between York and Sheffield, temporarily capturing the Yellow Jersey.
Overall, the favorites to win the race are defending champion Chris Froome, a 29-year-old Kenyan-born Briton who leads Team Sky, and two-time Spanish champion Alberto Contador.
Here are some of the best pictures from the first two days of competition.
  • 1
    A man dressed as Sherlock Holmes poses with cycling fans prior to the start of the first stage of the Tour de France on July 5, 2014.
    IMAGE: CHRISTOPHE ENA/ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • 2
    Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, watched by her husband Prince William, left, and her brother-in-law, Prince Harry, second right, prepares to cut the ribbon officially starting the Tour de France at Harewood House near Leeds, England.
    IMAGE: ASADOUR GUZELIAN, POOL/ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • 3
    Kate Middleton, Prince William, and Prince Harry, watch as riders approach the finish line of Stage 1 of the Tour De France on July 5, 2014, in Harrogate, England.
    IMAGE: CHRIS JACKSON, POOL/ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • 4
    A teammate, rear, raises his arms as Germany's sprinter Marcel Kittel, second right, crosses the finish line to win the first stage of the Tour de France ahead of second place Peter Sagan of Slovakia, third from right, and third place Ramunas Navardauskas of Lithuania, right.
    IMAGE: PETER DEJONG/ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • 5
    Marcel Kittel crosses the finish line to win the first stage of the Tour de France, concluding a 118.4 mile stage that started in Leeds and finished in Harrogate, England.
    IMAGE: PETER DEJONG/ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • 6
    Kate Middleton applauds as Marcel Kittel puts on the overall leader's yellow jersey on the podium of the first stage of the Tour de France.
    IMAGE: LAURENT CIPRIANI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • 7
    Sprinter Marcel Kittel, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, and Jens Voigt of Germany, wearing the best climber's dotted jersey, and Peter Sagan of Slovakia, wearing the best young rider's white jersey, second left, lead the pack during the ceremonial procession at the start of the second stage of the Tour de France on July 6, 2014.
    IMAGE: LAURENT CIPRIANI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • 8
    Spectators line the road as France's Blel Kadri climbs in the breakaway group during the second stage of the Tour de France between York and Sheffield, England.
    IMAGE: LAURENT CIPRIANI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • 9
    Blel Kadri grimaces as he rides breakaway during the second stage of the Tour de France.
    IMAGE: LAURENT CIPRIANI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • 10
    A dog owner who dressed up his dog with the best climber's dotted jersey poses during the second stage of the Tour de France.
    IMAGE: CHRISTOPHE ENA/ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • 11
    Britain's Christopher Froome, center right with race number one, passes a police officer during the second stage of the Tour de France.
    IMAGE: CHRISTOPHE ENA/ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • 12
    Thousands of spectators line the roads as the pack climbs Bradfield pass during the second stage of the Tour de France.
    IMAGE: CHRISTOPHE ENA/ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • 13
    Italy's Vincenzo Nibali, front, crosses the finish line ahead of the sprinting pack, rear, to win the second stage of the Tour de France.
    IMAGE: PETER DEJONG/ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • 14
    Italy's Vincenzo Nibali, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, kisses the trophy on the podium of the second stage of the Tour de France.
    IMAGE: LAURENT CIPRIANI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
BONUS: Nibali Gets Denied When Seeking Celebratory Kiss
Additional reporting by The Associated Press




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