Tour de France route goes twice through Alps, no Paris finish

Next year’s Tour de France will showcase two exhilarating journeys through the magnificent Alps, deviating from the customary finish in Paris due to the city hosting the Summer Olympics. Meanwhile, the women’s race will culminate in a grand finale at the renowned L’Alpe d’Huez in August.

In a historic departure, the men’s Tour, established in 1903, will not conclude in Paris. Instead, the victor will be crowned in Nice on July 21, following the race’s initial Grand Depart in Florence, Italy, on June 29. This stage is notably challenging, encompassing an astonishing 11,000 feet of climbing.

To alleviate the strain on the police force during the Olympics scheduled in Paris from July 26 to Aug. 11, organizers made the decision, in consultation with the government, to circumvent the capital.

“We were committed to avoiding Paris due to the Olympics,” stated Tour director Christian Prudhomme in an interview with Reuters. “With only 28,000 available police forces, we knew it wouldn’t be possible to increase the number.”

Italy will host four stages, paying homage to influential figures such as Marco Pantani. The second stage will commence near Pantani’s birthplace and conclude in Rimini, where he tragically passed away in 2004.

The peloton will venture into the Alps as early as the fourth stage and return for the climactic final stretch. The outcome will be determined by an arduous mountain stage culminating at the Col de la Couillole, followed by a hilly individual time trial from Monaco to Nice.

This will be the first time since 1989 that the concluding stage of the race is an actual competition. During the intervening years, the final stage has been a ceremonial procession, featuring only a contested final sprint, since Greg LeMond triumphed over France’s Laurent Fignon by a mere eight seconds in the overall rankings, clinched through a time trial on the Champs-Elysées.

“The last three or four days will be formidable as we traverse the mountains,” Prudhomme revealed to Reuters.

The 111th edition of the Tour encompasses a total of seven mountain stages across four ranges, entailing a staggering 52,230 meters (over 170,000 feet) of cumulative vertical ascent.

The defending champion, Jonas Vingegaard, and the runner-up, Tadej Pogacar, both favorites, may contend once again, assuming Pogacar participates.

Moreover, the race incorporates eight flat stages, offering ample opportunities for Mark Cavendish to seize the record for most stage wins in the history of this illustrious event.

The women’s Tour, commencing on August 12, will also bypass France for the initial three days, embarking on races through the Netherlands and Belgium before culminating at the iconic L’Alpe d’Huez.

“Last year we visited the Tourmalet, intending to incorporate iconic locations, and L’Alpe d’Huez is an integral part of cycling’s history,” revealed women’s Tour director Marion Rousse. “With an ascent of 4,000 meters, it’s the most challenging stage in Tour de France Femmes history. Additionally, the stage features the arduous Col du Glandon, which I believe is the toughest in France. Women have demonstrated their ability to conquer these challenges.”

The women’s race spans eight stages, covering a total distance of 946 kilometers (587.8 miles).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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