The route for the 111th version of the Tour de France cycle race was revealed on Wednesday in a presentation at Paris’s Palais des congrès (a conference centre) and includes an Italian starting debut in Florence and a final in the French Riviera.
The race will start on June 28 and end on July 21. Cyclists’ final stage will stretch from Monaco to Nice.
The presentation was delivered during a grand event led by Christian Prudhomme, director of Tour de France, which organizes the race. This was done in front of almost 4,000 guests, including some of the expected participants, mayors of cities and towns through which the route winds and members of the media.
This is the first time that the race does not end in Paris; the city is inaccessible due to preparations for the Olympic Games that will take place there next year. It is also the first time the race has kicked off in Italy.
Instead of the traditional last-day parade along the Champs-Élysées, spectators can instead expect a potentially decisive individual ride along the French Riviera coastline and in the hills between Monaco and Nice.
Organizers hope that the race will end up being an energetic spectacle.
“It’s hard to replace Paris, so what’s better than the scenery of the dazzling route between Monaco and Nice,” said Prudhomme.
There will be four stages in Italy, with some big names being honoured; the second stage starts a few kilometers from the late cyclist Marco Pantani’s hometown and ends in Rimini, where he died in 2004.
Cyclists will already be braving the Alps in the fourth stage.
“The tour has never taken place so far above sea level. The panoramas in the high Alps are simply breathtaking,” says Prudhomme.
Stage six will particularly catch the eye of wine lovers as it winds through the Route des Grands Crus between Macon and Dijon, while stage seven goes through the vineyards of Nuits-Saint-Georges in Burgundy.
After Troyes in the Champagne region, the race swings southeast to Pau and the Pyrenees and then heads west again through Nimes and back to the Alps.