IBTimes UK presents the best photos of the action and the spectators along the route of the 2017 Tour de France, the world's biggest cycling event.

The 104th Tour de France began on Saturday 1 July with a 14-kilometre (8.7-mile) individual time trial up and down the banks of the Rhine River in Duesseldorf. Team Sky's Geraint Thomas won the wet and slippery opening stage to claim the yellow jersey.

Tour de France 2017
30 June 2017: The Rhine Tower (Rheinturm) is illuminated ahead of the start of the 2017 Tour de France in in Duesseldorf, GermanyChristian Hartmann/Reuters
Tour de France 2017
1 July 2017: Switzerland's Stefan Kung competes during the first stage, in and around Dusseldorf, GermanyLionel Bonaventure/AFP
Tour de France 2017
1 July 2017: FDJ rider Olivier Le Gac of France starts the first stage, a 14km (8.7 miles) individual time-trial, in Duesseldorf, GermanyBenoit Tessier/Reuters
Tour de France 2017
1 July 2017: Australia's Richie Porte concentrates prior to starting the 14km individual time-trialLionel Bonaventure/AFP
Tour de France 2017
1 July 2017: Nathan Brown of the United States and Cannondale-Drapac competes during stage one, a 14km individual time trial in Duesseldorf, GermanyBryn Lennon/Getty Images
Tour de France 2017
1 July 2017: Spain's Alberto Contador crosses the finish line in Duesseldorf during a 14km individual time-trial, the first stage of the 2017 Tour de FranceJeff Pachoud/AFP
Tour de France 2017
1 July 2017: Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas of Britain rides during the first stage in DuesseldorfChristian Hartmann/Reuters

The second stage – a 203.5km ride from Duesseldorf in Germany to Liege in Belgium – was won by Germany's Marcel Kittel of the Quick-Step Floors team. Defending champion Chris Froome was among a mass of riders involved in a crash 30kms from the finish. Britain's Geraint Thomas of Team Sky retained the overall leader's yellow jersey with a margin of five seconds from Switzerland's Stefan Kueng.

Tour de France 2017
2 July 2017: A man dressed as a gendarme entertains the crowd before the start of the 203.5km (126.1-mile) second stage, from Duesseldorf, Germany to Liege, BelgiumChristian Hartmann/Reuters
Tour de France 2017
2 July 2017: A man dressed as Napoleon watches the start of the second stageChristian Hartmann/Reuters
Tour de France 2017
2 July 2017: The pack rides in the rain during the 203.5km second stage, between Dusseldorf in Germany and Liege in BelgiumPhilippe Lopez/AFP
Tour de France 2017
2 July 2017: Cyclists ride in the rain somewhere between Germany and Belgium during the 203.5 km second stageLionel Bonaventure/AFP
Tour de France 2017
2 July 2017: A supporter sits on a vintage bike as cyclists ride past during the second stageLionel Bonaventure/AFP
Tour de France 2017
2 July 2017: Fans wearing fancy dress line the route of second stage of the 2017 Tour de FranceLionel Bonaventure/AFP
Tour de France 2017
2 July 2017: Marcel Kittel of Germany and Quick-Step Floors celebrates winning stage two in Liege, BelgiumBryn Lennon/Getty Images

Despite a last minute equipment glitch, world champion Peter Sagan powered to victory in the 212.5 km third stage, between Verviers in Belgium and Longwy in France. Britain's Geraint Thomas of Team Sky finished two seconds off the pace but retained the overall leader's yellow jersey. Defending champion Chris Froome moved up to second overall, 12 seconds behind his team mate.

Tour de France 2017
3 July 2017: A trick cyclist performs prior to the start of the 212.5 km third stage, between Verviers in Belgium and Longwy in FrancePhilippe Lopez/AFP
Tour de France 2017
3 July 2017: The peloton races during the 212.5km third stage, from Verviers in Belgium to Longwy in FranceBenoit Tessier/Reuters
Tour de France 2017
3 July 2017: The pack rides during the 212.5km third stage, between Verviers in Belgium and Longwy in FranceLionel Bonaventure/AFP
Tour de France 2017
3 July 2017: Team Sky drives the peloton during stage three of the 2017 Tour de France, from Verviers to LongwyChris Graythen/Getty Images
Tour de France 2017
3 July 2017: USA's Nathan Brown, Germany's Nils Politt, France's Romain Sicard, France's Romain Hardy and Belgium's Frederik Backaert ride in a breakaway during the third stagePhilippe Lopez/AFP
Tour de France 2017
3 July 2017: Germany's Nils Politt rides in a breakaway during the 212.5km third stagePhilippe Lopez/AFP
Tour de France 2017
3 July 2017: Supporters wait for riders near the finish line of the third stage in Longwy, FranceJeff Pachoud/AFP

French champion Arnaud Demare claimed his maiden Tour de France stage win when he powered to victory in a crash-marred 207.5km fourth stage from Mondorf-les-Bains in Luxembourg to Vittel in France. Britain's Mark Cavendish was forced out of the Tour de France with a fractured shoulder after being elbowed off balance by world champion Peter Sagan, who took second place but was kicked out of the tour altogether.

Overall, Geraint Thomas leads Sky teammate Chris Froome by 12 seconds, with third-place Michael Matthews of Australia also 12 seconds back.

Tour de France 2017
4 July 2017: Cyclists compete during the 207.5km fourth stage, from Mondorf-les-Bains in Luxembourg to Vittel in FranceChristian Hartmann/Reuters
Tour de France 2017
4 July 2017: A wide shot of the peloton during the 207.5km fourth stage, from Mondorf-les-Bains in Luxembourg to Vittel in FranceChristian Hartmann/Reuters
Tour de France 2017
4 July 2017: The pack rides past a field of sunflowers during the 207.5 km fourth stageLionel Bonaventure/AFP
Tour de France 2017
4 July 2017: The pack is seen behind a field a sunflowers in Vittel, France, during the fourth stageChris Graythen/Getty Images
Tour de France 2017
4 July 2017: A supporter waves along the road during the fourth stage of the Tour de FrancePhilippe Lopez/AFP
Tour de France 2017
4 July 2017: France's Nacer Bouhanni rides during the 207.5 km fourth stage, between Mondorf-les-Bains and VittelLionel Bonaventure/AFP
Tour de France 2017
4 July 2017: Supporters watch the action along the route of the fourth stagePhilippe Lopez/AFP
Tour de France 2017
4 July 2017: The peloton rides in Vittel during stage four of the Tour de FranceBryn Lennon/Getty Images
Tour de France 2017
4 July 2017: The pack rides past vineyards during the 207.5 km fourth stage, between Mondorf-les-Bains and VittelLionel Bonaventure/AFP
Tour de France 2017
4 July 2017: Slovakia's Peter Sagan appears to elbow Great Britain's Mark Cavendish near the finish line of the fourth stageJeff Pachoud/AFP
Tour de France 2017
4 July 2017: Germany's John Degenkolb and Great Britain's Mark Cavendish lie on the ground after falling near the finish lineJeff Pachoud/AFP
Tour de France 2017
4 July 2017: Great Britain's Mark Cavendish receives medical assistance after falling near the finish line in VittelStephane Mantey
Tour de France 2017
4 July 2017: Mark Cavendish continues with a broken shoulder after the crashBenoit Tessier/Reuters

The 160.5-kilometre fifth stage begins in Vittel and concludes with the first serious climb of the Tour, winding its way to La Planche Des Belles Filles with a short but steep finishing ascent that features a leg-breaking 20-percent gradient in the final metres.

Tour de France 2017
5 July 2017: The peloton sets off at the start of the fifth stageBenoit Tessier/Reuters

The 2017 Tour de France will conclude with the Champs-Élysées stage in Paris on 23 July 2017.