The Tour de France 2021 towards a plan “B” like Brittany for its Grand Départ?


The 2021 Tour should start from Brittany!“, already headline” the regional daily The Telegram citing contacts between the organizers (ASO) and the regional authority, while the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided to sanctuary the Olympic cycling program, reports the AFP. “It is not possible“, replied the IOC President, Thomas Bach, on the assumption of modifying the calendar of the Olympic Games.

The road race is therefore scheduled for July 24 … on the eve of the arrival of the Tour de France, central axis of the cycling season. Faced with the choice that would be imposed on the best riders in the world, most of whom have to ignore the Olympic event, the International Cycling Union (UCI), master of the calendar, can only bring forward the dates of the One week tour. Especially since the calendar for the 2021 season will not be ratified until the end of September, on the occasion of the Worlds in Martigny (Switzerland).

“It is not a realistic solution to postpone the dates of the Grand Départ by a week”

But, for the very cycling city of Copenhagen which is to host the Grand Départ of the Tour for the first time, a one-week advance, to the last weekend of June, is impossible. The Danish capital is mobilized by Euro football matches, itself rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic. “Date change would lead to insurmountable legal knots between the city of Copenhagen, the Danish football federation and UEFA“, confirmed to the newspaper BT the mayor of Copenhagen Frank Jensen.

At the end of June, the mayor replied in advance to ASO in a letter published by BT: “On behalf of the partners of the Danish Grand Départ, I must inform you that it is not a realistic solution to postpone the dates of the Grand Départ by one week.“The coexistence of two events of this magnitude poses problems of too great magnitude, mainly related to transport, security and hotels.

The last departure to Brittany was in 2008

The signing of the contract for the Great Departure from Denmark dates from February 2019. No one could then imagine the devastation caused by the Covid-19 and its unexpected extensions, the postponement of the Euro and the Tokyo Olympics which places the Tour in vice. But the contract, which covers the entire Grand Départ with its first three stages (time trial in Copenhagen, Roskilde – Nyborg, Vejle – Sonderborg), does exist.

If Denmark cannot host the biggest race in the world at the start of next summer, Brittany would present itself as a fallback solution. The region, ardent heart of French cycling through its legendary champions (Robic, Bobet, Hinault) and the fervor of its public, was a candidate for a Grand Départ, logically by 2022. If a solution is found, it could thus get ahead to have the peloton on their land, ignored by the 2020 Tour which will start on August 29 in Nice.

The Grande Boucle, whose last Breton start was in 2008 in Brest, would once again start from France. But foreign interest remains as strong as ever. Wednesday, the director of the Tour Christian Prudhomme was invited to Bologna, the center of the Emilia-Romagna region, which announced its candidacy for a Grand Départ in the coming years. In more than a hundred years of history, no more than Denmark, Italy has never kicked off the Tour.

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