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Crowds greet the riders of the 2019 Tour de France - Gallery

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Defending champion Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal co-lead Team Ineos at the Tour de France

Defending champion Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal co-lead Team Ineos at the Tour de France
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Team Ineos on stage at the Tour de France presentation in Brussels

Team Ineos on stage at the Tour de France presentation in Brussels
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Egan Bernal (Team Ineos)

Egan Bernal (Team Ineos)
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Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates)

Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates)
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Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First) at the Tour de France presentation

Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First) at the Tour de France presentation
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Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First) at the Tour de France presentation

Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First) at the Tour de France presentation
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Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First) at the Tour de France presentation

Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First) at the Tour de France presentation
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Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) at the Tour de France presentation

Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) at the Tour de France presentation
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Peter Sagan and his Bora-Hansgrohe team at the Tour de France presentation

Peter Sagan and his Bora-Hansgrohe team at the Tour de France presentation
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Peter Sagan and his Bora-Hansgrohe team at the Tour de France presentation

Peter Sagan and his Bora-Hansgrohe team at the Tour de France presentation
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French Champion Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic) at the Tour de France presentation

French Champion Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic) at the Tour de France presentation
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Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) riding to the staging area for the team presentation at the Tour de France

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) riding to the staging area for the team presentation at the Tour de France
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Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) rides to the Tour de France presentation in Brussels

Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) rides to the Tour de France presentation in Brussels
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Michael Matthews (Sunweb) on stage at the Tour de France presentation in Brussels

Michael Matthews (Sunweb) on stage at the Tour de France presentation in Brussels
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Elia Viviani gives thumbs up on stage at the Tour de France presentation in Brussels

Elia Viviani gives thumbs up on stage at the Tour de France presentation in Brussels
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Team Ineos on stage at the Tour de France presentation in Brussels

Team Ineos on stage at the Tour de France presentation in Brussels
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Eddy Merckx on stage at the Tour de France presentation in Brussels

Eddy Merckx on stage at the Tour de France presentation in Brussels
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Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) on stage at the Tour de France presentation in Brussels

Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) on stage at the Tour de France presentation in Brussels
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Calen Ewan (Lotto Soudal) on stage at the Tour de France presentation in Brussels

Calen Ewan (Lotto Soudal) on stage at the Tour de France presentation in Brussels
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Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) on stage at the Tour de France presentation in Brussels

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) on stage at the Tour de France presentation in Brussels
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Mitchelton-Scott wave to the crowds on stage at the Tour de France presentation in Brussels

Mitchelton-Scott wave to the crowds on stage at the Tour de France presentation in Brussels
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Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) on stage at the Tour de France presentation in Brussels

Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) on stage at the Tour de France presentation in Brussels
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Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) on stage at the Tour de France presentation in Brussels

Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) on stage at the Tour de France presentation in Brussels
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Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep) on stage at the Tour de France presentation in Brussels

Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep) on stage at the Tour de France presentation in Brussels
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Nairo Quintana (Movistar) heads to the team presentation at the Tour de France

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) heads to the team presentation at the Tour de France
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) at the team presentation at the Tour de France

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) at the team presentation at the Tour de France
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Bahrain-Merida at the team presentation at the Tour de France

Bahrain-Merida at the team presentation at the Tour de France
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Movistar at the team presentation for the 2019 Tour de France

Movistar at the team presentation for the 2019 Tour de France
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Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) waves to the crowds at the 2019 Tour de France

Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) waves to the crowds at the 2019 Tour de France
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Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale)

Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale)
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Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott)

Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott)
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Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos)

Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos)
(Image credit: Josh Evans)
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Egan Bernal (Team Ineos)

Egan Bernal (Team Ineos)
(Image credit: Josh Evans)
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Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

Nairo Quintana (Movistar)
(Image credit: Josh Evans)
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Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma)

Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma)
(Image credit: Josh Evans)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
(Image credit: Josh Evans)
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George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma)

George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma)
(Image credit: Josh Evans)
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Movistar on stage at the 2019 Tour de France

Movistar on stage at the 2019 Tour de France
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Trek-Segafredo on stage at the 2019 Tour de France

Trek-Segafredo on stage at the 2019 Tour de France
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Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) heads to the team presentation at the 2019 Tour de France

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) heads to the team presentation at the 2019 Tour de France
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Niki Terpstra (Total Direct Energie) at the team presentation at the Tour de France

Niki Terpstra (Total Direct Energie) at the team presentation at the Tour de France
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Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida) at the team presentation at the Tour de France

Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida) at the team presentation at the Tour de France
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Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) at the team presentation at the Tour de France

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) at the team presentation at the Tour de France
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Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) at the team presentation at the Tour de France

Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) at the team presentation at the Tour de France
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Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) at the team presentation at the Tour de France

Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) at the team presentation at the Tour de France
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Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) at the team presentation at the Tour de France

Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) at the team presentation at the Tour de France
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Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) at the team presentation at the Tour de France

Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) at the team presentation at the Tour de France
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Sunweb team presented at the 2019 Tour de France

Sunweb team presented at the 2019 Tour de France
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Deceuninck-QuickStep on stage at the 2019 Tour de France

Deceuninck-QuickStep on stage at the 2019 Tour de France
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Astana on stage at the 2019 Tour de France

Astana on stage at the 2019 Tour de France
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Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida)

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida)
(Image credit: Josh Evans)

The 2019 Tour de France welcomed its participants Thursday at the official opening team presentation held on the Grand-Place in Brussels, Belgium. Organisers welcomed on stage Eddy Merckx, as it has been 50 years since he won the first of his five Tour de France titles, and chose Brussels for the Grand Depart in his honour.

They then invited on stage each team one-by-one to introduce the riders such as defending champion Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) and world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) to the crowds.

Thomas waved to the thousands of upon his introduction while standing next to co-leader of Team Ineos, Egan Bernal. The team announced them as co-leaders of the Tour de France after Chris Froome sustained serious injuries in a crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné. Joining the overall contenders on stage were Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First), Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates), Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ).

Also on stage were the contenders for the opening sprint stage; Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal), Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) and Michael Matthews (Sunweb).

The Tour de France begins on Saturday with stage 1's 194.5km race in Brussels, which could be a day for a sprinter to take the first yellow jersey.