2015 Tour starts with short time trial in Utrecht

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The 2015 Tour de France will begin with a short time trial around the Dutch city of Utrecht.

Organizers say the race will begin on July 4 with a 8.5-mile race against the clock. Utrecht will also host the start of the second stage, but no further details were given.

Utrecht is the sixth Dutch city to stage the ''Grand Depart'' of cycling's marquee race. Amsterdam was the first in 1954, followed by Scheveningen (1973), Leiden (1978), `s-Hertogenbosch (1996) and Rotterdam (2010).

Two Dutch riders have won the Tour de France, Jan Janssen in 1968 and Joop Zoetemelk in 1980.

Tour director Christian Prudhomme says the Netherlands ''is among cycling's sporting nations.''

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