BRUSSELS, July 6 (Xinhua) -- The first race of the 2019 Tour de France ended in Brussels on Saturday with Team Jumbo-Visma's rider Mike Teunissen of the Netherlands coming out on top with a sprint finish to take the yellow jersey.
Teunissen completed the opening race in 4 hours, 22 minutes and 47 seconds, beating Bora-Hansgrohe's three-time world champion Peter Sagan on the line to win the first leg.
A total of 176 cyclists from 22 teams took part in the opening race of the day, departing from the Royal Square in central Brussels, through Charleroi, Waterloo and other cities in Belgium, before ending at the King's private palace on the outskirts of Brussels, rounding off a 194.5km opening day race.
To encourage people to go out and watch the race, public transport such as the Brussels Metro, buses and trams in Brussels are free of charge on the weekend.
Figures from the Brussels police gazette show that about 100,000 spectators watched the first stage of the race through the streets of Brussels.
Another busy day is expected on Sunday as the second stage kicks off in Brussels. It will be a 27.6km team time trial, with riders from the royal palace in central Brussels arriving at the Atomium, a landmark building in Brussels, originally constructed for the 1958 Brussels World's Fair (Expo 58).
On Monday, the third leg will take place from the southern Belgian town of Binche to France.
The 106th Tour de France features 21 stages, the last of which finishes customarily on the Champs Elysees in Paris on July 28.
Brussels was chosen as a starting point to mark the 50th anniversary of the first Tour de France title claimed by cycling legend Eddy Merckx, who won a record-breaking 11 Grand tour events throughout his career.