Italy will host the first three stages of the Tour de France in 2024, organisers ASO confirmed on Wednesday evening.
The 111th edition of the race will start on the other side of the Alps for the first time in its history, on 29 June 2024, with stages from Florence to Rimini, Cesenatico to Bologna and Piacenza to Turin. It will mark 100 years since the first Italian winner of the Tour, Ottavio Bottecchia.
It had long been rumoured that the Grand Départ would be in Italy in 18 months time, with the governor of the Piedmont region in Northern Italy all but confirming it last month, and reports being published as early as June that this would be the case.
However, on Wednesday evening ASO sent out a press release confirming it, after race director Christian Prudhomme had appeared on Italian TV to announce the news. The Tour has had 13 stages in Italy previously.
“In 2024, the programme for the first three stages offers a majestic panorama of the Italian cities and countryside while opening the hostilities with an exceptional sporting challenge,” the press release reads.
“After leaving the gorgeous Florence, the trek through Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna leading to the seaside finale in Rimini will pit the peloton against a total altitude gain of 3,700 metres from day one — fortune will really favour the bold. Along the way, the San Marino climb will add the microstate to the list of 14 countries that have hosted the Grande Boucle.”
With so much climbing happening on the first day of the Tour, it might well provide the opportunity for a rider to set the tone from the very beginning of the race. It took until stage nine of the 2022 Tour, from Aigle to Châtel les portes du Soleil, in the Alps proper, for a stage to have a similar amount of climbing. It might be discombobulating.
“The next day, starting from the station in Cesenatico, the final resting place of Marco Pantani, the riders will tuck into another hefty serving of climbs on the road to Bologna, where punchers have long traded blows on the ascent to San Luca in the Giro dell’Emilia-Romagna,” the press release continues.
Stage two will see the riders tackle the San Luca climb – 1.9km at 10.6% – twice at the end of the day, where the Giro d’Italia began with a time trial won by Primož Roglič in 2019.
“It will then be time for the super-speedsters of the peloton to step on the gas pedal in Turin, the capital of Piedmont, which has also become a prestigious sprint finish from all the Giro d’Italia stage finishes it has hosted,” the press release concludes.
It will be a strange year for the French Grand Tour, with it also being the first time in its history that the race has finished outside of Paris and away from the Champs-Elysées. It will be a year of revolution.
The 2024 edition is due to finish in Nice, due to the race’s organisers, ASO, believing it is impossible to have the finish in Paris, days before the opening ceremony of the Olympics, hence the move to Nice instead. That final day will be a time trial rather than the traditional procession for the first time since 1989.
“Florence had been talking to us about it for a very long time, Emilia-Romagna nurtured its burning desire, and then Piedmont came on board,” Prudhomme says in the press booklet. “Italy truly raised its ambitions to the power of three to host the Grand Départ.”
“Their ardour and synergies will right a historic wrong as the Tour de France gets under way on the Italian Peninsula for the first time and the riders take their first pedal strokes in this true blue cycling nation,” he continues.
“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.
“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.”