A challenging final two stages, including a summit finish and a final day time trial will cap the 2024 Tour de France in Nice, it was unveiled this afternoon.
Due to a clash with the 2024 Paris Olympics, the French Grand Tour will be finishing in Nice, the first time in the races history that it has finished outside Paris.
Stage 20 will be a summit finish on the Col de la Couillole - where Tadej Pogačar took a Paris-Nice stage victory last weekend - and the final stage 21 will be a hilly 35 kilometre individual time-trial from Monaco to Nice.
Finishing the race with two tough stages could mean that the race in the general classification comes right down to the wire on the final day.
The penultimate stage follows a route which race organisers ASO says has a “Paris-Nice feel to it”.
Starting out in Nice, the riders will take on four categorised climbs including the Col de Braus, Col de Turini and Col de la Colmiane, where Primož Roglič triumphed in the 2021 edition of the race to the sun, before the summit finish on the Col de la Couillole.
On the final day, whoever is wearing the leader's yellow jersey could face a nervous 35 kilometre dash from Monaco to Nice if they haven’t already built a solid enough gap in the general classification. The route for the time trial features more regular climbs associated with Paris-Nice, La Turbie and the Col d’Eze, before concluding in the city’s Place Massena.
Despite the parcours potentially making for gripping and exciting racing, the feeling amongst some members of the peloton is that moving the final day from Paris is taking away some of the Tour de France’s charm. Prior to the reveal of the full route, Ineos Grenadiers’ Pavel Sivakov told Cycling Weekly that he would “always prefer” to finish in Paris.
“It's taking away some of the charm of the Tour to be honest. You always finish on the Champs Élysées, and it's so special. It's such an iconic, nice finish. It's going to be something different. We haven't seen it ever. I would always prefer to finish in Paris, but I think it's going to be interesting,” Sivakov said.
“The race will be more open until the end. It would be pretty cool to race that year, and then say I’ve done that. A bit like racing the Covid Tour.”
Larry Warbasse of AG2R Citroen echoed Sivakov and said he felt it was “sad” that the race would not conclude in Paris. However, the American rider said that finishing in a town he lives in was also an exciting prospect.
Warbasse said: “I do think it would be sad not to be in Paris, but to finish at home is even cooler. I guess then I would just have to do it the year after so I can finish in Paris one time too. It's always nice to finish in the biggest city of a country, like when the Vuelta [a España] finishes in Madrid, it's a really nice ambience, a good closing to the race.
“I think this year the Giro [d'Italia] finishes in Rome too, I think that's really cool. That's way cooler than in some random mid-tier city somewhere else.”
The final day time-trial will be the first time the final day has been a race against the clock since the famous 1989 edition, in which American Greg Lemond dramatically beat Frenchman Laurent Fignon to the yellow jersey on the Champs-Élysées.
Italian Grand Départ
In December last year, it was announced that the 111th edition of the Tour will get underway in Italy, also for the first time in the race's history.
On 29 June 2024, the race will begin with a difficult 205 kilometre stage stacked with climbing between Florence and Rimini.
Stage two will make for another tough say in the saddle, between Cesenatico and Bologna before the final day in Italy between Piacenza and Turin. It will mark 100 years since the first Italian winner of the Tour, Ottavio Bottecchia.
"Exactly a century after Ottavio Bottecchia became the first cyclist from the other side of the Alps to win the Tour, the peloton will go from the birthplace of Gino Bartali, a champion Righteous Among the Nations, to that of Marco Pantani, the unforgettable Il Pirata, worshipped without measure, before paying tribute to the campionissimo, Fausto Coppi," race director Christian Prudhomme said.
"These three stages will take us through majestic landscapes in which the leaders will be forced to take matters into their own hands from the opening weekend. It is going to be magical."
☀ On July 20. and 21. 2024, dream finale on the French Riviera☀ Les 20 et 21 juillet 2024, un week-end d'apothéose sur la Riviera !#TDF2024 pic.twitter.com/FB8cTAD4WTMarch 13, 2023
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