The race begins in earnest on Sunday, with a 203.5km run from the German city to Liège in Belgium.
22 teams consisting of nine riders will make up the field - known as the Peloton.
Thomas' team-mate Chris Froome finished sixth, 12 seconds down, as he stole an early advantage over his rivals in his bid to win a third straight Tour crown and fourth overall.
"The season's gone well so far and this is the biggest race and the big goal".
I've said for a long time that Richie has got the potential to win the Tour de France, it's just a matter of time until everything works out for him.
Amid an ongoing investigation into Team Sky by the UK Anti-Doping authority, Froome said: "I've been here since the beginning and I've never seen anything untoward".
In his pre-race press conference on Thursday, Porte said "Sky are probably not as strong as they have been", and Roche was quick to agree with a smile.
"Chris is the one with the biggest target on his back". "I didn't even think about it [winning the stage], to be honest. It's more than a two horse race". "I'm just going to enjoy it". The company to Thomas in the top 10 made up Basil Kirienko, Michal Kwiatkowski and current victor of the "Big loop" Christopher froome who showed the best result among the contenders for the General classification.
Once viewed as a means of transport for the masses, cycling is attracting more sports fans in China, a new survey said Friday on the eve of Tour de France.
Sagan wins green jerseys through consistency, rather than pure speed, however. "I've been pretty much 10th man the last three times for NetApp-Endura, which has been a bit frustrating".
"It's a very hard Tour de France, with insane competition, every day you have to be concentrated". Thomas took the coveted yellow jersey in surprising fashion after having said he was in bad form all week.
The King of the Mountains favourite is Frenchman Thibaut Pinot at 3/1 with defending champion Rafal Majka rated at 9/2.
While it was a great start for Team Sky, with Thomas, three-times champion Froome, Vasil Kiryienka and Michal Kwiatkowski all in the top eight of the 198 riders to start, Movistar's Alejandro Valverde's Tour is already over after a sickening crash. Throw in the likes of last year's Vuelta a Espana victor Nairo Quintana, Spanish veteran and two-time former champion Alberto Contador, French hope Romain Bardet and Criterium du Dauphine victor Jakob Fuglsang, and a major battle is expected over the next three weeks. He endured a horrendous strain of glandular fever and is unlikely to have recovered. It could be a race for second.
We spoke with Unibet's Alistair Gill to get their take on the tour and the betting. Froome showed his horsepower, as he was taking it easy on the corners.
The second favorite is an Australian Richie Porte. "It is a bit more relaxed than the Tour and has shorter stages".
Froome and Porte made a wise decision by starting more conservatively in order to avoid crashing or falling during the Grand Depart. This year I'll be happy to win a stage.
"In the Young Rider classification market, we feel Simon Yate's could be the pick at 6/4".