Tour de France racers arrive in Utrecht

Tour de France UtrechtPicture: Twitter/@LaurenceMuller

A total of 198 racers from 22 teams arrived in Utrecht on Thursday for the start of the 2015 Tour de France. The racers were presented to the public at an outdoor festival in Lepelenburg Park, where fans gathered to see their favourite cyclists, Cycling News reports.

Before the presentation, the teams gathered at the Railway Museum. They then embarked on individual team boat rides on the Oudegracht canal, which took them through the city and to the park. At the park each team was handed their bicycles, which they rode through the public to the staging area.

The Netherlands has 20 riders participating in the Tour de France this year. "This is very special", Trek Factory Racing's GC rider Bauke Mollema said on stage. "The Tour is the biggest event in cycling and to start in your own country is very special."

The Tour de France kicks of on Saturday with a 13.8 kilometre time trail through Utrecht.