King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands was present at the beginning of the 99th Giro d’Italia on Friday afternoon.
The bicycle race began at the Omnisport Velodrome in Apeldoorn, which is located in the province of Gelderland.
The King visited some of the team before the race began and then followed along by car after the race began.
Friday began with a 9.8 kilometre time trial race and the route took the cyclists through Zutphenstraat, Deventerstraat, Noorderlaan, Kanaal Noord, Edinsonlaan, Boerhaavestraat, Generaal van Heutszlaan, Generaal van Swietenlaan, Kerklaan, Grote Kerk, Jachtlaan and finished at Loolaan.
The King then attended the prize ceremony after the first race ended, which Tom Dumoulin, a Dutch cyclist participating with Team Giant-Alpecin, won. Dumoulin also won the Maglia Rosa.
“Tom Dumoulin’s performance was wonderful,” said the King. “It was a privilege to stand on the podium of this beautiful opening stage of the Giro. We saw Apeldoorn, Gelderland and the entire country at their very best today.”
The Giro d’Italia is one of cycling’s major events, and along with the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España, makes up one of the Grand Tours of cycling. It began in Italy in 1909.
The Giro d’Italia usually begins on a Saturday, but given that the race starts in the Netherlands this year, the race started a day earlier to factor in the travel day needed.
The race lasts three weeks and cycled through the Netherlands twice more this weekend – on Saturday 7 May, the second stage went from Arnhem to Nijmegen, and today, Sunday 8 May, from Nijmegen to Arnhem – before the cyclists grab a plane and head into Italy to finish.
This is the third time that the Giro d’Italia started in the Netherlands. The race began in Amsterdam in 2010 and Groningen in 2002.