COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Fans of the Tour de France took to the streets early on Friday in anticipation of this year's first stage, a time trial through the streets of Copenhagen, a city with more bikes than people.
More than six hours before the start, spectators clad in yellow or polka-dotted jerseys had set up chairs and tables on their preferred spot along the route.
"I arrived this early because I had to make sure I could see it up close," said Morten Morup, 36, who has been a fan of the Tour since early childhood.
"I've always remembered the sound of summer on the terrace, and I've also been to see the Tour several times, in the Pyrenees and the Alps," Morup said. Watching the first stage go through his hometown was a no-brainer.
"It's huge, it's once in a life-time."
The 13km time trial through the capital, known as the world's most bike-friendly city, will take riders past several tourist hot spots, including a statue of the Little Mermaid from the fairy tale of Danish author Hans Christian Andersen.
Riders will also cross the world's busiest bike track on Dronning Louises Bro, a bridge crossed by around 40,000 cyclists every day.
"It's electric, so many people, everybody wants to see this," said Jorn Anders Gronodd, 54. Gronodd, a fan since 2006, travelled to Denmark from mountainous Norway this week to see all three stages across the country.
"As a Norwegian, we know that you Danish guys bicycle everywhere. It's flat as a pancake here. How you guys do it, it's impressive," he said.
Saturday's second stage from Roskilde to Nyborg ends with a treacherous stretch across the Great Belt bridge, among the world's largest suspension bridges.
Riders will face heavy side winds as they cross, with the stage ending around 3km from the base of the bridge in the town of Nyborg.
(Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard; Editing by Toby Davis)