Tour de France 2020

Tour de France 2021 to start in Brest

The shuffling of the Tour schedule to accommodate the Olympics put it in conflict with the European football championships.

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme confirmed Monday that the 2021 Tour de France would start in the western French port city of Brest.

“We have been talking with local authorities about this since 2018,” Prudhomme said in a prepared statement. “We were originally thinking about 2022, but the pandemic has changed all that.”

The news marks a major shift for the race, which was slated to start in the Danish capital of Copenhagen next year. The mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen, said “We want the Tour but we don’t can’t do it for security and logistical reasons, for us to accommodate. The only possible solution was a year later.”

Jensen said last week the Danish organizers accepted an offer from the ASO to postpone the start in Denmark until 2022.

Copenhagen, which was to host the Grand Départ 2021, will wait another year. With the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics until 2021, forcing the Tour to start a week earlier than originally scheduled, the venue was forced to change, too. The shuffling of the Tour schedule to accommodate the Olympics put it in conflict with the European football championships.

In the original Copenhagen-start schedule, the first stage would have been a time trial on July 2 with two more stages in Denmark on July 3 and 4.

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

So, the ASO blinked and scheduled the Tour de France to start a week earlier, on June 25.

With the start of the 2021 Tour moved up a week the new dates put it in direct conflict with previously confirmed dates for the European Football championships, also to take place in Copenhagen.

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.

However, with the change of venue from Copenhagen to Brest, hosting the first four stages of the Tour in the region was shoved back into consideration.

Valentin Madouas (Groupama–FDJ) said of the change to the Tour’s start, “The [biggest] race starts from my city, it’s exciting and fun and I hope to be initially to see that.”

“I was present at the start of the stage which left Brest two years ago, it made you want to experience it from the inside,” added the young Breton.