Tour de France 2012 / 1 July / Liège (Luik) – Seraing
The first stage of the Tour de France started in Liège (Luik) in Belgium on the first day of July. It was 198 kilometres for the riders to the finish in Seraing. On the photo above you can see a few of the riders of the French team Europcar on the start podium. There are two riders in their Tour team this year that are not French: Yukiya Arashiro from Japan and Davide Malacarne from Italy.
Marcel Kittel and Albert Timmer from Argos-Shimano. Marcel Kittel had to quit the Tour later on in the week due to stomach and knee problems. On Twitter he stated that it had probably been the toughest and most disappointing week in his career. He also explained how it feels for a rider to finally take the decision to step off the bike: “Felt like standing on the edge of an abyss & something told me to jump. It’s so difficult to overcome yourself despite the pain you feel.”
Philippe Gilbert (BMC) with his 1,5-year-old son Alan. He did not manage to win the first stage of the Tour, because it was Peter Sagan (LIQ) who claimed his first Tour victory at the end of the day in Seraing. The 22-year-old Slovakian cyclist rides his first Tour de France.
Jens Voigt (RNT) is 40 years old, but still going strong. He even managed to become second behind David Zabriskie (GRS) in the fifth stage – an individual time trial – in the Tour of California earlier this year. So far, he has won three stages in the Tour de France and it is the 15th time he rides La Grande Boucle, of which it was only three times that he was not able to reach Paris.
[Including photos by @Thalijn for Ride On! Photography]