The Tour de France of 2024 features a couple of major changes to what has been done before. The finish will not be in Paris, and the TDF will start in Italy for the first time!


– By Rob Arnold



Florence, Italy to Nice, France. That’s the quick overview of what is bound to be a compelling three weeks of racing in a couple of years. The 111th Tour de France will boast the first Grand Départ in Italy, with details revealed overnight about the start in Florence on 29 June 2024.

Full details of the route for the Tour of 2024 won’t be finalised until the end of 2023 but preparations for an entirely different kind of event are well underway with ASO committing the Italian start and a finish in Nice rather than Paris on 21 July 2024.

The Olympics in France has prompted some considerable digressions from tradition.

Since the Tour’s inception in 1903, every race has concluded in the French capital but that will change in 2024; the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Paris will be on Friday 26 July, just five days after the Tour finishes with a time trial from Monaco to Nice.

Emilia Romagna has been selected as the site for the first Italian Grand Départ. There won’t be a prologue or time trial in the opening stanza of the 2024 TDF, rather three road stages:

Stage 1  Saturday 29 June Florence to Rimini 205km
Stage 2 Sunday 30 June Cesenatico to Bologna 200km
Stage 3 Monday 1 July Piacenza to Turin 225km

The TDF’s two most recent visits to Italy were in 2008 and 2011. (Photos: Graham Watson)

Curiously, although there have been 22 foreign starts to date, the Tour has never begun in Italy, a nation with a rich cycling history and a strong connection with the TDF.

By the time the Tour of 2024 rolls around there will have been another Grand Départ in a country other than France, with Bilbao in Spain’s Basque Country set to host the start of the 2023 race.

Some details of the route for the 2024 edition have been revealed well in advance and there are two precedents: no conclusion in Paris (and, we can assume, no other stage to finish in the capital either) and now the start in Italy at the end of June.

Copenhagen is the most recent foreign city to host the Grand Départ of the Tour de France, with last year’s race finishing in the capital of Denmark – setting the scene for Jonas Vingegaard’s stunning triumph in July this year.

The Tour’s previous foreign starts are:

1954 Amsterdam, Netherlands
1958 Brussels, Belgium
1965 Cologne, West Germany
1973 Scheveningen, Netherlands
1975 Charleroi, Belgium
1978 Leiden, Netherlands
1980 Frankfurt, West Germany
1982 Basel, Switzerland
1987 West Berlin, West Germany
1989 Luxembourg, Luxembourg
1992 San Sebastian, Spain
1996 s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
1998 Dublin, Ireland
2002 Luxembourg, Luxembourg
2004 Liège, Belgium
2007 London, Great Britain
2009 Monaco, Monaco
2010 Rotterdam, Netherlands
2012 Liège, Belgium
2014 Leeds, Great Britain
2015 Utrecht, Netherlands
2017 Düsseldorf, Germany
2019 Brussels, Belgium
2022 Copenhagen, Denmark

Simon Gerrans, a TDF stage winner in Italy when he triumphed at Prato Nevoso in 2008.

A prime example of a significant change to the script came in 1998 when the Tour started later than usual in the distant location of Dublin, Ireland in the year when France hosted (and won) the Football World Cup.

The final of the 1998 World Cup was played on Sunday 12 July, and by then two stages of the Tour had been contested with Chris Boardman winning the prologue TT in Dublin and Tom Steels claiming victory in a sprint at the end of stage one.

The Olympics in France in 2024 has prompted a considerable rethink and the time has come to break with tradition with Nice to host the finale of the race for the first time. Not only will the 2024 Tour not finish in Paris, it will also end with a time trial.

When the Tour last concluded with a TT, the overall winner was decided on the final day with Greg LeMond sealing his victory with the smallest winning margin ever to the runner-up, Laurent Fignon (eight seconds).

When Italy hosted the TDF in 2011, Cadel Evans was still hunting the yellow jersey… by the end of that race, he would become Australia’s first Grand Tour champion.

Le Tour, Australians and Italy

There have been 23 stages of the Tour raced in Italy, with the most recent visit coming in 2011 when Edvald Boasson Hagen won a stage in Pinerollo a day before the stage that started in Pinerollo and ended with Andy Schleck’s audacious attack that saw him triumph atop the Col de Galibier late in the race.

The winner in Italy before those two stages in 2011 was Simon Gerrans, who celebrated success after being in the breakaway on the road to Prato Nevoso in 2008.

When Gerrans won that stage in Italy, the leader of the Tour was future champion, Cadel Evans.

After 14 stages Evans led the Tour of 2008 by just one second but he lost time to Fränk Schleck on the uphill to Prato Nevoso and surrendered the yellow jersey slipping down the rankings to third on GC before ultimately finishing second overall for the second successive year.

* * * * *

Rui Costa and Joaquim Rodriguez battled it out for victory in the world championships in Florence in 2013.

There are 555 days to go before the Tour de France of 2024 starts in Italy, but it’s already news because this is a precedent: an Italian beginning during what will surely be a time when France is the focal point of the sporting world.

Cycling will provide a showcase of athletic endeavour and the Tour of 2024 will be a fitting way to raise spirits in the weeks before the Olympics come to France.


– By Rob Arnold


Note: RIDE Media publishes the Official Tour de France Guide (Australian edition).