Tour stage starts with minute's silence after Nice attacks

BOURG-SAINT-ANDEOL: The Tour de France's 13th stage got underway under tightened security on Friday after riders had observed a minute's silence in tribute to the scores of victims of the Bastille Day attack in the southern French city of Nice.

A gunman at the wheel of a heavy truck ploughed into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice late on Thursday, killing at least 84 people and injuring scores more in what President Francois Hollande called a terrorist act.

The stage began at 0805 GMT, later than scheduled after race organisers debated whether it should be cancelled.

The stage is a 37.5-km (23.5-mile) time trial from Bourg-saint-Andeol to Vallon Pont-d'Arc in the Ardeche region some three hours' drive northwest of Nice.

"We had a crisis meeting with the prefect of the Ardeche department and the gendarmerie. The stage is on," said race director Christian Prudhomme.

"We want this day to be a day of dignity as a tribute to the victims. We asked ourselves (whether the stage should be cancelled) but we think, after agreeing with authorities, that the race must continue."

The prefecture of the Ardeche department said security was being reinforced along Friday's route.

Leader Chris Froome will be the last man on the road, and anotherminute's silence will be held at the finishing line, Prudhomme said.