The Tour de France will start from Florence in 2024, the first Italian start in the history of the Grande Boucle

The riders during the eighth stage of the Tour de France, July 9, 2022.

The end of a “incongruity”. The Tour de France will set off from Italy in 2024 for the first time in its history of more than a century, more precisely from the city of Florence, for a 111e edition decidedly like no other with a final arrival in Nice.

“The Tour started from all the countries bordering France. He even left the Netherlands six times, which has no common border with France. But he has never left Italy yet. There is a kind of incongruity that will disappear”explains to Agence France-Presse the director of the Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme, who came to Italy to present this 26e departure from abroad, the third in a row after Copenhagen (Denmark) in 2022 and Bilbao (Spain) in 2023.

There will be three stages in Italy to launch the 2024 edition which, due to the Olympic Games (OG) in Paris, will end exceptionally in Nice with, as the organizers had already announced, a final individual time trial on the 21 July, five days before the start of the Olympics in the capital.

Read also: Route of the Tour de France 2023: departure in Bilbao, the Grand Colombier for July 14 and return to the puy de Dôme…

The first stage, on June 29, will connect Florence to Rimini – “a mid-mountain stage, even mountain, with a positive elevation of 3,700 meters”, according to Mr. Prudhomme. The second, cut out for punchers, will leave from Cesenatico and will end on a final circuit in Bologna after passing through Imola, where Julian Alaphilippe won his first world champion title, in 2020. The third, promised to sprinters, will go from Piacenza to Turin. The fourth stage should also take off from Italy and then arrive in France.

“Obvious link with the legend of Italian cycling”

“Leaving abroad, I not only assume it but I claim it. French security forces will be in huge demand in 2024, so a big departure from abroad can help”, insists Mr. Prudhomme. For the Tour, it is also an opportunity to celebrate Italian cycling, so rich, as 2024 will mark the centenary of the first Italian victory in the Grande Boucle, that of Ottavio Bottecchia.

“At kilometer zero after Florence, we will pass in front of the Museum [du cyclisme] Gino-Bartali [vainqueur du Tour de France en 1938 et 1948]. We will also pass in front of the place where Fausto Coppi rests [vainqueur du Tour de France en 1949 et 1952]. There will be a stage start in Cesenatico, where Marco Pantani is buried. There is a clear link with the Italian cycling legend and his champions”underlines the director of the Tour.

This departure from Italy, seventy years after the first launch from abroad (Amsterdam in 1954), will therefore repair a fairly inexplicable anomaly for two neighboring countries also in love with cycling. The deal came close several times, but for various reasons was always delayed.

Read also: Route of the Tour de France from 1903 to 2023: which are the winning and losing departments of the route?

“At the end of March 2020, in the midst of a pandemic, Matteo Renzi, the former mayor of Florence and ex-president of the council, texted me a photo of his city with this word: “Florence empty, deserted but so beautiful. I haven’t forgotten my dreams of a big start. After the pandemic, let’s see.” It reignited the thing”says Mr. Prudhomme, impatient to see the runners finally survey the “open-air museum of Florence, the shores of the Adriatic and the crossing of the Apennines”.

The World with AFP

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