Dsseldorf - Frenchman Elie Gesbert was the first rider on the road as the 2017 Tour de France began in rainy Dusseldorf on Saturday.
The 22-year-old former French junior champion was the first to tackle the opening stage 14km time-trial in Germany, setting off at 15:15.
Reigning champion Chris Froome will be last off at 18: 32 as he bids for a fourth Tour crown.
In damp conditions, 198 riders signed on for the start of the 104th edition of the world's greatest bike race.
Although fans with colourful brollies crowded around the start and finish areas, further along the course the lack of supporters was disappointing at a race that usually brings out hoards thronging every inch of vantage points to watch the action.
German four-time world time-trial champion Tony Martin is the favourite to win the opening stage and wear the yellow jersey in his homeland on Sunday's second stage.