There may be exciting news on the way for those cycling fans who spend the third week of every July grumbling about the Tour de France’s processional final stage into Paris.
“Why don’t they have a proper race? None of this champagne toasting nonsense…”
Well grumble no more, as according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the Tour’s 2024 edition will end around 1,000km south of Paris, in Nice.
The Gazzetta says that this ground-breaking final stage – which, if true, would mark the first time ever that the Grande Boucle has not concluded in France’s capital city – will take place on the Côte d’Azur to avoid clashing with the build- up to the Olympic Games in Paris, which begin on 26 July, just five days after the Tour is set to end.
If Nice does make history by hosting the Tour’s finale in two years’ time, it will go a long way to making up for the city’s subdued 2020 Grand Départ, shunted to late August and held under tight Covid restrictions.
The sports paper also claims that the 2024 Tour will mark another historic first – a Grand Départ in Italy, paying homage to the country’s greatest cycling names, Gino Bartali, Fausto Coppi, Marco Pantani and Ottavio Bottecchia, the first Italian winner of the Tour in 1924.
The race will report kick off in Florence before three full stages crossing in Italy (including a potentially tricky trek through the Apennines), finally over the border on the fourth day after starting in Pinerolo, the scene of Coppi’s era-defining escape at the 1949 Giro.
All eyes this morning, however, seem to be on the tantalising prospect of a thrilling finale over the Col d’Èze, more akin to what we’re used to seeing in early March at Paris-Nice than during the annual parade up and down the Champs-Elysees…
The prospect of a finish away from Paris is almost more exciting than an Italian start. See also Verona for the Giro, Santiago de Compostela for the Vuelta. https://t.co/kc4LE2HUWm
— Daniel Friebe (@friebos) June 8, 2022
Yes, the Paris final stage is one long bore-fest.
— noblecyclist (@noblecyclist) June 8, 2022
Maybe this will finally be the catalyst to get rid of the ‘tradition’ of not racing on the final day of racing. https://t.co/rmOCpYsvmK
— Cillian Kelly (@irishpeloton) June 8, 2022
— David Walters (@Academy_ds) June 8, 2022
What do you think?
Could the reported 2024 finale in Nice spell the end of Paris’ 110 year hegemony at the Tour?
Could we also see the end of the now-traditional end-of-term procession on the Tour’s final stage? (I know what Bernard Hinault would say…)
Should ASO follow the lead of the Giro and Vuelta and spread the race-ending love around France?
Or is the yearly bunch gallop on the Champs-Élysées (and its lack of GC intrigue) an untouchable tradition?
Let us know!