The Tour de France is to end in Nice rather than the Champs Élysées in 2024, in a break with the race’s traditions. This historic first will see the victor crowned on the shores of the French Riviera, on the Promenade des Anglais.
But this is no act of infidelity towards the French capital: it is due to the fact that the 2024 Olympics will be opening there a few days later, so the shift away is to lighten the burden on Paris. The race will end on July 21 and the Olympics will kick off on July 26.
The first two Tours de France – in 1903 and 1904 – ended in Ville-d'Avray, a town bordering the capital.
From 1905 to 1967, it was the cycle track of the Parc des Princes that provided the backdrop to the frantic final étape, before being replaced by the Cipale vélodrome in the Bois de Vincennes from 1968 to 1974.
But in 1975, the Champs-Élysées became the finish point of the world’s most famous cycle race, so 2024 marks a decided departure from Paris-centric tradition. The capital of the Alpes-Maritimes region, Nice is a regular on the Tour de France, having already hosted the start of the 1981 and 2020 races.
Another novelty for the Nice finish is that it will comprise individual time trials instead of the traditional sprint finish on the Champs-Élysées. This will make the suspense last until the very last moments.
The last occasion on which time trial closed a Tour de France was in 1989. The American Greg LeMond stripped Laurent Fignon of his yellow jersey for eight seconds and won his second Tour by the narrowest margin in history.
The penultimate stage of the 2024 race will be drawn on the roads in the breathtaking Alps above Nice.
Debt of gratitude to Nice for 2020
Nice was chosen by the Tour boss, Christian Prudhomme, as a debt of gratitude to the city’s mayor, Christian Estrosi, according to Le Parisien.
In 2020, the Grand Boucle departure had been chosen for Nice, but the start had to be postponed to August 29 because of Covid, but the city was empty due to strict lockdown rules and suffered a significant loss of revenue.
The Tour de France 2024 will start in the Italian city of Florence, and will cover four stages on the other side of the Alps, passing through Bologna, Modena and Rimini.
"It will be a different Tour," said Christian Prudhomme. "First of all, the setting is exceptionally beautiful… And there are strong links between the Tour and Nice.
“The city, the metropolis and Christian Estrosi played a determining role in making the Tour happen at all in 2020. He agreed to the change of dates to August 29, which was not what was planned. But Christian Estrosi immediately said yes, let's go for it, and that set the tone and allowed the Tour to happen.”
Next year, the most famous cycling race will begin its journey in Spain before reaching the Basque Country in France.