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Malaysia Airlines MH17: Tour De France Riders Pay Respects To The Dead (PHOTOS)

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The Tour de France delayed the start of today's stage to hold a minute's silence in memory of those killed on the Malaysian Airlines plane that crashed on Thursday.

Malaysian Airlines MH17, which came down in eastern Ukraine killing all 298 people on board, is believed to have been shot down by pro-Russian rebels although they and the Ukraine government have both denied any involvement in the tragedy.

Riders on the Tour were preparing for stage 13 on Friday, the first into the Alps, when the tribute was made with members of two Dutch teams in the race are also wearing black armbands for the day. The Malaysian flight that was bound for Kuala Lumpar took off from Schiphol Airport and 173 of the casualties were from the Netherlands.

The plane was shot down in an "act of terrorism", Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko has claimed while US authorities said intelligence analysis showed the plane had been hit by a surface-to-air missile, killing all crew and passengers.

  • ERIC FEFERBERG via Getty Images
    Riders observe a minute of silence for the Malaysia Airlines plane crash, prior to the start of the 197.5 km thirteenth stage of the 101st edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 18, 2014 between Saint-Etienne and Chamrousse, central eastern France. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
  • ERIC FEFERBERG via Getty Images
    (From L) France's Romain Bardet wearing the best young's white jersey, Netherlands' Lieuwe Westra and Italy's Vincenzo Nibali wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey observe a minute of silence for the Malaysia Airlines plane crash, prior to the start of the 197.5 km thirteenth stage of the 101st edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 18, 2014 between Saint-Etienne and Chamrousse, central eastern France. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    The pack with Italy's Vincenzo Nibali, observes a minute of silence for the victims of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 plane crash in the Ukraine prior to the start of the thirteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 197.5 kilometers (122.7 miles) with start in Saint-Etienne and finish in Chamrousse, France, Friday, July 18, 2014. Most of the victims, at least 173, were Dutch. The flight set off from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport in the country's school summer vacation period and was heading for the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    The pack with Italy's Vincenzo Nibali, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, observes a minute of silence for the victims of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 plane crash in the Ukraine prior to the start of the thirteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 197.5 kilometers (122.7 miles) with start in Saint-Etienne and finish in Chamrousse, France, Friday, July 18, 2014. Most of the victims, at least 173, were Dutch. The flight set off from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport in the country's school summer vacation period and was heading for the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Dutch riders of the Belkin team wear black mourning bands as they observe a minute of silence for the victims of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 plane crash in the Ukraine prior to the start of the thirteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 197.5 kilometers (122.7 miles) with start in Saint-Etienne and finish in Chamrousse, France, Friday, July 18, 2014. Most of the victims, at least 173, were Dutch. The flight set off from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport in the country's school summer vacation period and was heading for the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
  • ERIC FEFERBERG via Getty Images
    Netherland's Bram Tankink (2ndL) and others Dutch riders of the Netherlands' Belkin cycling team wear a black armband for the Malaysia Airlines plane crash, prior to the start of the 197.5 km thirteenth stage of the 101st edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 18, 2014 between Saint-Etienne and Chamrousse, central eastern France. Flight MH17, a Boeing 777-200, went down in strife-torn eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014 with 298 passengers and crew, mostly Dutch citizens. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Netherland's Steven Kruijswijk of the Belkin team wears a black mourning band for the victims of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 plane crash in the Ukraine during the thirteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 197.5 kilometers (122.7 miles) with start in Saint-Etienne and finish in Chamrousse, France, Friday, July 18, 2014. Most of the victims, at least 173, were Dutch. The flight set off from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport in the country's school summer vacation period and was heading for the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
  • ERIC FEFERBERG via Getty Images
    Netherland's Bram Tankink (C) and others Dutch riders of the Netherlands' Belkin cycling team wear a black armband for the Malaysia Airlines plane crash, prior to the start of the 197.5 km thirteenth stage of the 101st edition of the Tour de France cycling race on July 18, 2014 between Saint-Etienne and Chamrousse, central eastern France. Flight MH17, a Boeing 777-200, went down in strife-torn eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014 with 298 passengers and crew, mostly Dutch citizens. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

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