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Cycling: Tour de France begins in Leeds after royal ceremony

Published on Jul 5, 2014 7:35 PM
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (left), Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (centre), and Prince Harry (right) take part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony in Leeds before cycling's 2014 Tour de France began on Saturday, July 5, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

LEEDS, United Kingdom (AFP) - Prince William, his wife Catherine and Prince Harry took part in a royal opening ceremony in Leeds before cycling's 2014 Tour de France began on Saturday.

The Duchess of Cambridge was given the honour of cutting the official start ribbon at Harewood House just outside Leeds before reigning champion Chris Froome and the rest of the peloton set off on the 190.5km opening stage around Yorkshire.

The three royal guests spoke to several riders at the ceremony including Froome, British sprint king Mark Cavendish, former Tour winners Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck, as well as the two other Britons in the peloton, Geraint Thomas and Simon Yates.

A band at the stately country home in Yorkshire played the national anthems of France and Britain while the famous Red Arrows, the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, flew overhead through blue skies amidst a bright sunny background.

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