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One of the most mythical climbs of the Tour de France could be back very soon.
Plans are in the works for the Tour to return to the Puy de Dôme volcano in 2024. The Massif Central’s iconic lava dome hasn’t featured in the race since 1988 and is renowned for hosting one of the most celebrated battles in Tour history.
“The dream becomes bigger today,” Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme told La Montagne of plans to take the race back to the climb.
“There’s a lot of emotion for us because it’s a dream that we’ve had in our heads for years.”
The Tour visited the Auvergne volcano 13 times in total between 1952 and its last outing in 1988.
The duel between Jacques Anquetil and Raymond Poulidor that played out on the Puy de Dôme’s steep slopes in 1964 went down in history as the centerpiece of one of the wildest Tours to date.
“This corresponds to our desire to give the mountains back to the champions,” Prudhomme said this week. “As we have shown in recent years by going to classified sites or sites that are difficult to access.”
2022 Tour de France:
The construction of a rail line to the summit in 2012 shrank road access for unwieldy Tour de France vehicles and left the race’s return riddled with difficulty.
Officials are pulling out the stops to see the Tour back on the summit of the regional landmark.
“It is a dream that we had in our heads for years. The Puy de Dôme is a myth, our emblem of the Auvergne. I always thought it was a mistake to deprive oneself of the potential to come here,” said regional president Laurent Wauquiez.
Prudhomme and local officials are mulling taking the Tour to the climb on July 12, 2024 to mark the 60-year anniversary of the Anquetil-Poulidor showdown.
“There is a political will for the return to the Puy de Dôme,” Prudhomme told AFP . “It’s a real challenge.”
Recent reports also suggest the 2024 Tour could start in Florence and finish in Nice, ripping up the long-running script of a Paris finale.