198 racing cyclists introduced at the team presentation in Düsseldorf

198 racing cyclists introduced at the team presentation in Düsseldorf

First stage of the Tour de France 2017 starts with the individual time trials on 1 July at the Düsseldorf trade fair.

Successful start of the Tour de France 2017 at Burgplatz in Düsseldorf: on the stage of the tour organiser A.S.O., on Thursday, 29 June, the 22 teams presented themselves with their 198 cyclists – within the framework of a three-hour, entertaining programme. The team presentation was presented by the former German cyclists Marcel Wüst and Jens Voigt.

The team presentation traditionally marks the start of the Grand Depart, which is being held this time from 29 June to 2 July in Düsseldorf. Several thousand spectators (15.000) came to Burgplatz to see the cycling stars close up. After their presentation, the pros also rode a 1.4-kilometre route through the oldtown and got right up close to their fans on the riders parade.

"The state capital of Düsseldorf is well prepared and offers a great stage for the Tour de France. After the intensive preparation time, we are glad that it’s now getting underway – and the focus is now on the world’s best cyclists. The Grand Depart Düsseldorf 2017 is to be a festival of cycling, in which the state capital presents itself as it is: warm-hearted, globally minded and friendly", explained Lord Mayor Thomas Geisel. The sporting highlight of the Grand Depart will be the 1st and 2nd stages of the Tour de France on Saturday, 1 July, and Sunday, 2 July. The official reception is to be held beforehand on 30 June in Schloss Benrath.

The team presentation is the first highlight of the Grand Depart Düsseldorf 2017. The 198 cycling pros were welcomed to the state capital and accompanied onto the stage at Burgplatz by some of Düsseldorf’s great personalities such as "Heinrich Heine", "Clara" and " Robert Schumann" and "Joseph Beuys". While the Düsseldorf celebrities were portrayed by so-called "living sculptures", i.e. actors, the nine cyclists of the 22 teams appeared in person and stood on the stage at the Rhine. Through interviews with the team captains and other cyclists, the spectators learned details about the teams and got an insight into their chances in the legendary French Tour 2017.

The programme included a mixture of sport and culture. Primary school children from SingPause of the Düsseldorf Matthias-Claudius school sang the European anthem with two sopranos. There were also performances by cycling artists, dance groups from tanzhaus nrw, the band Fresh Music Live and musicians from the Clara¬Schumann Music School.

After appearing on the stage, the teams rode from Burgplatz over Marktplatz, through Rheinstraße and then along Rheinufer to Johannes-Rau-Platz and got right up close to the fans in Düsseldorf. At Marktplatz, Grabbeplatz, Johannes-Rau-Platz and Kö-Bogen, those interested were also able to follow the team presentation live on LED screens.

Alongside representatives of Düsseldorf’s urban society, the following celebrities are also expected at the team presentation: the photographic artist Andreas Gursky, the Olympic track cyclist Udo Hempel, Vincent Muller, Consul General of the French Republic, Gisela Wasken, Chief Administrator in Cologne, Düsseldorf’s citizen of honour Albrecht Woeste and former racing cyclist Marcel Wüst, wearer of the green jersey, among others.