The opening stages of both the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia could be heading to Prague in the future, according to reports.
Representatives of the Czech capital city recently met with their nation’s cycling federation as well as ASO, who organise the French Grand Tour.
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The city’s councillor, Vít Šimral, has said bringing both Grand Tours to Prague was something that both parties definitely wanted to do.
“The Tour definitely wants to come to Prague and we want a Tour in Prague,” Šimral told Czech news agency ČTK. “At the same time, we need to address the current interest of the Giro d’Italia. We would need to manage launches of these races so that it was comfortable for the Tour and Giro in terms of marketing and for Prague in terms of budget.”
One suggested stage route could replicate the now-defunct Prague – Karlovy Vary – Prague one-day race. It entails a 262km route between the two cities that began in 1921 and disappeared from the calendar after the 2010 edition.
The first available year the city could open the Tour is currently unclear. The French race begins in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2021, with Saint-Etienne likely to be announced as the home location in 2022. The Basque Country has then been heavily rumoured to be in line for a 2023 Grand Départ.
Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme has said that if Prague is serious about their intention of bringing his race to their country it’s something the Tour will give “the utmost attention” to.
“Prague is a truly beautiful city, one of the most beautiful capitals,” Prudhomme said. If Prague really wants to be a Grand Départ location, we will give their offer the utmost attention.”
Prague was in contention for the Grande Partenza (Grand Départ) of the Giro d’Italia in 2017 and 2018. It was, however, given to Sardinia in 2017 and Israel in 2018.
The Tour de France has grown accustomed to splitting their Grand Départs between home soil and international locations. Last year the race started in Brussels, Belgium, to honour the 50th anniversary of Eddy Merckx’s first Tour victory. Before heading to Denmark in 2021 this year’s edition will start in Nice.
The 2020 Giro d’Italia will begin in Budapest, Hungary, the first time a Grand Tour has visited the eastern European nation and the 14th time the Giro has begun outside of Italy.