Glorious return to cyclocross for Van Empel
Fem van Empel has marked her return to the field with a victory. The 21-year-old...
Organiser ASO unveiled the route for the 111th edition of the Tour de France on Wednesday. The 2024 edition will start in the Italian city of Florence and finish three weeks later in Nice. The traditional finish in Paris will be avoided for the first time due to the Olympic Games.
For the first time in history, the Tour de France will start on Italian soil. The opening stage is a tough one, with almost four thousand metres of climbing. "It's an incredibly challenging course from the first metre", says CEO of Team Jumbo-Visma Richard Plugge. "As winners of the last two editions, we have high ambitions for next year."
For the ninth stage, the Tour organisers send the peloton over gravel roads towards Troyes. "I think it is a bit unnecessary", Plugge says. "It increases the chance of bad luck. We want the fight to be as fair as possible. A ride like this, in my opinion, does not contribute to that."
Reigning Tour winner Jonas Vingegaard also has his doubts about riding on dirt roads. "It will be a new experience as it will be the first time I ride on gravel during a race. It's a day where you can lose more than you can gain. We will have to make do with the choice of the course builders."
"I'm really looking forward to it"
Next year, as so often, the focus will be on the Alps and the Pyrenees. The latter mountains will be tackled immediately after the first rest day. The Alps are scheduled for the final week. With climbs to the Tourmalet, Plateau de Beille, Pla d'Adet, Col de Galibier, Isola 2000 and Col de la Bonette, the upcoming edition of the world's greatest cycling race will once again be filled with the necessary high-profile tests.
"The whole course is tailor-made for me", Vingegaard says. "The third week is the main focus. We have to be on our guard from day one because there is no time to settle in. It's still a while away, but I'm really looking forward to it."
Plugge knows who the course is for. "It's really a climbers' course. We feel very comfortable with it. Now that everything is known, we can start to prepare. The time trials are also challenging with a lot of climbing", says Plugge, referring to the two races against the clock. The riders will ride a total of 60 kilometres individually.
Organiser ASO also revealed the route of the third edition of the Tour de France Femmes Avec Zwift. In 2024, the race will start outside of France for the first time. The peloton will set off from Rotterdam at the middle of August. The eighth and final stage includes the iconic Alpe d'Huez.