Tour de France

2021 Tour de France Grand Départ could shift to Brittany

Opening stages of next year's race may be moved from Copenhagen; organizers also investigating Italian start in future years.

This year’s Tour de France hasn’t hit the start line yet, but organizers are already thinking ahead to future editions.

According to the French regional paper Le Télégramme, ASO has approached the region of Brittany in western France to stage the 2021 Grand Départ instead of current hosts Copenhagen.

As a result of the cancelation of numerous international sporting events this year, the 2021 calendar is particularly crowded with the Olympic Games as well as the European soccer championships.

According to the current 2021 dates, the final week of the Tour will now be in direct conflict with the Olympic Games, something that Tour organizers ASO hoped to avoid. As a result, they are considering moving the start of the Tour up a week, but the city of Copenhagen is resisting.

The Olympic road races – traditionally held at the start of the Games – are scheduled for July 24 and 25 next year, in direct conflict with the final weekend of the Tour. And although the UCI has officially requested a change of the road racing dates during the Games, the International Olympic Committee has refused.

But moving the start of the 2021 Tour up a week, from July 2 to June 25, will be in direct conflict with certain dates of the European Football championships that will also take place in Copenhagen.

According to Le Télégramme, ASO and Copenhagen are currently in talks to host the start of the race in another year, and the Tour has approached the region of Brittany as its Plan-B. Brittany, which is traditionally one of cycling’s hotspots in France, was originally hoping to host the start of the Tour in 2024 to celebrate the 70th birthday of Bernard Hinault, who hails from the region, or in 2025 in honor of his fifth Tour de France win in 1985.

Meanwhile, several Italian news sources are reporting that ASO is seriously considering a Grand Départ in Italy in 2023 or 2024 after race Christian Prudhomme made a recent visit. Prudhomme was in Bologna on Wednesday and met with Dario Nardella, the mayor of Florence as well as the selector of the Italian national team Davide Cassani.

Despite the long history of Italians in the Tour de France, Italy has never hosted a race start like other neighboring countries of France. And finally having a start there would provide a fitting way to honor the long list of Italian champions that have marked the Tour.