Tour de France will not finish in Paris for first time ever due to 2024 Olympics

Organisers counting on final day cliffhanger in Nice as race avoids French capital Paris for first time ever

Sidestepping a clash with next year’s Olympic Games in Paris, Tour de France organisers ASO announced a race route on Wednesday which will avoid the French capital for the first time in the race’s history.

The traditional finish in Paris gives way to a concluding stage between Monaco and Nice on July 21st, with the riders facing a 34km time trial concluding along the famous Promenade des Anglais.

It is the first final-day TT in 35 years, with the last in 1989 seeing the American Greg LeMond overhaul Frenchman Laurent Fignon by the smallest ever winning margin of just eight seconds. Race director Christian Prudhomme indicated on Wednesday that another cliffhanger would be the ideal outcome.

Covering 3,492 kilometres in total, the 2024 Tour also features a first ever Grand Départ in Italy on June 29th. The race gets under way with four days wholly or partly on Italian soil, with stage four then taking the riders over the border to finish in Valloire.

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With two out of that day’s three climbs rising to over 2,000 metres above sea level, Prudhomme noted that the Tour was ‘never so high so early before’.

That will be the first of seven mountain stages, something that will suit Corkman Eddie Dunbar if he is selected for the race by his Jayco-AlUla team. He finished seventh in this year’s Giro d’Italia, his first time targeting a Grand Tour as a team leader.

Fellow Irishman Sam Bennett will aim to return to the Tour for the first time in four years. He won two stages plus the green jersey in 2020 and will target the race’s eight flat stages with his new team, rumoured to be the French squad Ag2r Citroën.

Breakaway specialist Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost) will also hope for selection after taking a stage win in this year’s Giro d’Italia, his first Grand Tour.

Race route highlights include stage nine in Troyes, which features 32 kilometres of gravel roads, a big test of bike-handling ability, as well as summit finishes at Saint-Lary-Soulan/Pla d’Adet on stage 14, Plateau de Beille the following day, Isola 2000 on stage 19 and Col de la Couillole on stage 20.

Time-trial specialists will appreciate two races against the clock, one more than this year’s edition. These are the 25km TT to Gevrey-Chambertin on stage seven and the hilly 34km test on the final stage.

Double Tour winner Jonas Vingegaard welcomed the route. “To be honest, I’m really excited. The course looks difficult, especially the last week with very high summits.”

British rider Mark Cavendish also spoke about the difficulty. “It might be the hardest route I’ve ever seen on a Tour de France,” he said. He has reversed his decision to retire in order to return to the race one last time in the hunt for a record 35th stage win.

Meanwhile the women’s Tour de France will also make history with the first ever start outside the country. The 2024 edition will begin in the Netherlands with three flat stages; a 124km leg to The Hague on August 12th, plus two stages in Rotterdam the following day. The second of those is a 6.3km time trial, something that will be an early indication of those in form.

Stage four partially traces the hilly routes of the Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, with a flat stage to Amnéville and a tougher race to Morteau preceding two final stages in the high mountains.

The summit finishes of Le Grand-Bornand and Alpe d’Huez will attract plenty of attention with the latter – the so-called Dutch mountain – certain to see many spectators travel from the Netherlands to cheer on defending champion Demi Vollering (Team SD Worx).

She hailed the route and said that watching the male riders compete in the final climb had always sparked her imagination.

“I’ve never been to Alpe d’Huez but when I was a kid I saw it on TV and I said, ‘okay, I want to ride there,’” he said at the presentation in Paris. “Being able to do it finally is super exciting.”

Megan Armitage will be one of several Irishwomen hoping to ride in the race. She was due to make a historic debut for the country this year but was hit by a bus while training in the days beforehand and missed the event.

Men’s Tour de France 2024

Stage 1, June 29th: Florence – Rimini, 206km

Stage 2, June 30th: Cesenatico – Bologna, 200km

Stage 3, July 1st: Piacenza –Turin, 229km

Stage 4, July 2nd: Pinerolo – Valloire, 138km

Stage 5, July 3rd: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne – Saint-Vulbas Plaine de l’Ain, 177km

Stage 6, July 4th: Mâcon – Dijon, 163km

Stage 7, July 5th: Nuits-Saint-Georges – Gevrey-Chambertin, 25km individual time trial

Stage 8, July 6th: Semur-en-Auxois – Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, 176km

Stage 9, July 7th: Troyes – Troyes, 199km

Stage 10, July 9th: Orléans – Saint-Amand-Montrond, 187km

Stage 11, July 10th: Évaux-les-Bains – Le Lioran, 211km

Stage 12, July 11th: Aurillac – Villeneuve-sur-Lot, 204km

Stage 13, July 12th: Agen – Pau, 171km

Stage 14, July 13th: Pau – Saint-Lary-Soulan Pla d’Adet, 152km

Stage 15, July 14th: Loudenvielle – Plateau de Beille, 198km

Stage 16, July 16th: Gruissan – Nîmes, 187km

Stage 17, July 17th: Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux – Superdévoluy, 178km

Stage 18, July 18th: Gap – Barcelonnette, 179km

Stage 19, July 19th: Embrun – Isola 2000, 145km

Stage 20, July 20th: Nice – Col de la Couillole, 133km

Stage 21, July 21st: Nice – Nice, 34km individual time trial

Total: 3,492km

Women’s Tour de France 2024

Stage 1, Aug 12th: Rotterdam – The Hague, 124km

Stage 2, Aug 13th: Dordrecht – Rotterdam, 67km

Stage 3, Aug 13th: Rotterdam – Rotterdam, 6.3km

Stage 4, Aug 14th: Valkenburg – Liège, 122km

Stage 5, Aug 15th: Bastogne – Amnéville, 150km

Stage 6, Aug 16th: Remiremont – Morteau, 160km

Stage 7, Aug 17th: Champagnole – Le Grand-Bornand, 167km

Stage 8, Aug 18th: Le Grand-Bornand – Alpe d’Huez, 150km

Total: 946km

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