Tour de France route goes twice through Alps, no Paris finish


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PARIS — Next year’s Tour de France will feature two treks through the Alps as organizers avoid Paris as it hosts the Summer Olympics, while the women’s race will have a grand finale at L’Alpe d’Huez in August.

For the first time since its creation in 1903, the men’s Tour will not finish in Paris, with the winner being crowned in Nice on July 21 after the race’s first Grand Depart in Florence, Italy, on June 29.

With the Olympics being staged in Paris from July 26 to Aug. 11, organizers decided, following talks with the government, to ease the pressure on the police force by avoiding the capital.

“We were committed to avoid Paris because of the Olympics,” Tour director Christian Prudhomme told Reuters. “There are only 28,000 police forces available, and we knew we could not get more.”

There will be four stages in Italy, with some great names being honored as the second stage will start near the late Marco Pantani’s birth town and finish in Rimini, where he died in 2004.

The peloton will enter the Alps as early as the fourth stage and will return for the final block of racing, which will be decided with a mountain stage ending at the Col de la Couillole and a hilly individual time trial between Monaco and Nice.

It will be the first time since 1989 that the final stage of the race will be actually competed. Since Greg LeMond won a time trial on the Champs-Elysees to pip France’s Laurent Fignon by eight seconds in the overall rankings, the final stage has always been a procession, with only the final sprint being contested.

“The last three four days will be very tough because we will be in the mountains,” Prudhomme told Reuters.

Defending champion Jonas Vingegaard and runner-up Tadej Pogacar, if he takes part, will once again be the favorites.

The women’s Tour will also avoid France for the first three days, racing in the Netherlands and Belgium, with the finale set for L’Alpe d’Huez.

“We went to the Tourmalet last year, we wanted to go to iconic places, and L’Alpe d’Huez is part of cycling’s history,” women’s Tour director Marion Rousse told reporters. “It’s the toughest stage in Tour de France Femmes history with 4,000 meters of altitude gain. The stage also features the Col du Glandon, which I think is the hardest in France. Women have proved they have the level for that.”

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