An Italian beginning and a time trial conclusion… these are two of the highlights of the first edition of the Tour de France that will not finish in Paris. These details were revealed well before the official launch of the route for the 111th edition of the world’s biggest race; now, after the presentation of the course in Paris overnight, we know where else #TDF2024 will go.
The world’s biggest annual sporting event will feature a significant change for its 111th edition. In 2024, for the first time ever, Paris will not be the site of the finish for the Tour de France. This much was known long ago, and it’s this way because the Olympic Games begin in the French capital less than a week after the conclusion of the bike race.
Full details of the route for Le Tour 2024 are now public knowledge and preparation has effectively begun as riders and teams dissect the details and consider how to tackle the challenge that awaits.
Route for #TDF2024
|Stage||Day||Date||Start and finish||Category||Distance|
|1||Saturday||29/06/2024||Florence to Rimni, Italy||Hilly||206km|
|2||Sunday||30/06/2024||Cesenatico to Bologne, Italy||Hilly||200km|
|3||Monday||01/07/2024||Plaisance to Turin, Italy||Flat||229km|
|4||Tuesday||02/07/2024||Pinerolo to Valloire||Mountain||138km|
|5||Wednesday||03/07/2024||Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Saint-Vulbas||Flat||177km|
|6||Thursday||04/07/2024||Mâcon to Dijon||Flat||163km|
|7||Friday||05/07/2024||Nuits-Saint-Georges to Gevrey-Chambertin||Time Trial||25km|
|8||Saturday||06/07/2024||Semur-en-Auxois to Colombey-les-Deux-Églises||Flat||176km|
|9||Sunday||07/07/2024||Troyes to Troyes||Hilly||199km|
|10||Tuesday||09/07/2024||Orléans to Saint-Amand-Montrond||Flat||187km|
|11||Wednesday||10/07/2024||Évaux-les-Bains to Le Lioran||Mountain||211km|
|12||Thursday||11/07/2024||Aurillac to Villeneuve-sur-Lot||Flat||204km|
|13||Friday||12/07/2024||Agen to Pau||Flat||171km|
|14||Saturday||13/07/2024||Pau to Saint-Lary-Soulan||Mountain||152km|
|15||Sunday||14/07/2024||Loudenvielle to Plateau de Beille||Mountain||198km|
|16||Tuesday||16/07/2024||Gruissan to Nîmes||Flat||187km|
|17||Wednesday||17/07/2024||Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux to Superdévoluy||Mountain||178km|
|18||Thursday||18/07/2024||Gap to Barcelonnette||Hilly||179km|
|19||Friday||19/07/2024||Embrun to Isola 2000||Mountain||145km|
|20||Saturday||20/07/2024||Nice to Col de la Couillole||Mountain||133km|
|21||Sunday||21/07/2024||Monaco to Nice||Time Trial||34km|
The major difference: no Paris
“It’s not that easy to have a finish that is not in Paris,” Christian Prudhomme told RIDE Media when he was in Australia in March this year. “So, we talked to the Mayor of Nice in December 2017 because, of course, we thought it would be very difficult to have a finish of the Tour and, a few days after – just five days afterwards – the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. There was no surprise when the French government, and the Mayor of Paris, said to us, ‘It will not be possible to have the 2024 finish in Paris.’
“For me, it’s an opportunity,” continued Prudhomme. “From the very beginning, the Tour de France organisers have tried to have the mountains next to the finish. In Nice, mountains are next to the finish! You have the sea and the mountains. And we needed prestige! Paris is prestigious. Monaco, Nice, and the Côte d’Azur also have prestige.
“And we will have sport! That’s very important. If there is no Paris, we need prestige and sport and on the penultimate day next year we have a mountain stage with 4,500 metres of elevation… more than 50km of climbing in a 132km stage.
“On the final day it will be the first time trial on the last stage of the Tour since 1989, with the memories of the battle between Greg LeMond and Laurent Fignon. It will be great!”
Prudhomme understands cycling well and recognises the absence of the world champion from his race in 2023, but again he sees opportunity and offers a cheeky forecast with a reference to Remco Evenepoel, without naming him. “The final stage will be on the Belgian national day. If somebody who will be 24 in 2024 – the same age as Eddy Merckx when he rode and won his first Tour – wants to race, he is more than welcome.”
Evenepoel, the reigning world time trial champion – and winner of La Vuelta a España in 2022 – is expected to make his TDF debut next June when the race begins in Florence, Italy on the final Saturday of the month.
The finish of the 2024 Tour also coincides with the Belgian National Day (21 July) and, even 16 months before the 111th edition is due to begin Prudhomme was referencing Evenepoel as a candidate for victory.
Watch RIDE Media’s interview with Prudhomme, click the link below.
Vingegaard chasing a hat-trick
There are 247 days between the launch of the route and the first Italian Grand Départ and if we consider previous editions of the TDF, the obvious challengers for the yellow jersey include the two most recent winners, Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar.
The 26-year-old Danish champion of the 2022 and 2023 Tours was in Paris for the presentation clad in black (with the exception of his white sneakers) and he was typically subdued with his reaction to the Tour. His off-bike demeanour is generally calm but Vingegaard is able to spark up a race almost on a whim, certainly when the terrain gets tough. In late-June 2024 the challenging terrain again comes early, with stage four featuring 3,800 metres of total elevation gain with three significant climbs.
By the time the 111th Tour arrives in France on the first Tuesday of the race, the peloton will have ridden the road up to one of cycling’s celebrated sites, Sestrières in the Italian Alps. The itinerary then sends riders up over the 1,860m high Col de Montgenèvre before tackling the famous Col du Galibier which peaks at the 119km mark of the 138km fourth stage.
“I think it’s a very nice route,” said Vingegaard at the Palais des Congrès in Paris yesterday. “It suits me quite well so I’m already looking forward to it.
“I don’t think there’s one decisive stage,” he continued before referencing the “gravel stage” on the second Sunday, starting and finishing Troyes, when there will be over 30km of gravel roads for the 199km stage.
“Normally I’m quite good at altitude,” he said in response to a question about the prospect of the 2,802m high Cime de la Bonette, a pass that features around the halfway mark of stage 19. “I’ve never tried 2,800 metres, so it’s a new experience for me but I’m still looking forward to it.”
Other GC challengers
The showdown for GC begins early and, if all follows the expected script, the Vingegaard vs Pogacar battle will get some added spice now that three-time Vuelta winner – and defending Giro d’Italia champion – Primoz Roglic has announced he’ll be switching teams for next season.
Two of the three Grand Tour champions on the Jumbo-Visma roster in 2023 will be rivals rather than team-mates in 2024, with Roglic moving to Bora-Hansgrohe. It is a change of sorts for Vingegaard who benefitted from the Slovenian’s presence – and considerable assistance (prior to an early abandon) – when he first claimed the Tour title.
In 2023, however, Roglic’s Grand Tour focus was the Giro (which he won) and Vuelta (where he finished third on GC behind team-mates Sepp Kuss and Vingegaard).
With the change of teams, Roglic is expected to return to the Tour next July and, at 34, he’ll be looking to improve on his best GC finish in the French race (second in 2020, when he lost his solid grip on the yellow jersey on the penultimate day).
Evenepoel’s anticipated debut
The pending arrival of Belgian superstar Remco Evenepoel on the roads of the Tour de France has been spoken about often. Of course, plenty can happen in the next 247 days but the rider who turns 24 next January has had a carefully managed career and the intention all along has been to build up to a TDF debut.
The two time trials on the itinerary next July will likely serve Evenepoel well and we wait to see how he fares when it comes to taking on the other key favourites, who have not only excelled in the French race but won stages, worn the yellow jersey and stood on the final podium.
He always races with an aggressive approach and the delay in getting him to the Tour has been deliberate in the hope that he’ll have matured sufficiently since making his pro debut as a teenager in 2019. Even with greater experience, and an understanding of how he copes with the challenge of a three-week race, Evenepoel knows that taking on the likes of Vingegaard, Pogacar and Roglic isn’t an easy task.
The 2022 road race world champion has so far started four Grand Tours –the Giri of 2021 and 2023, and the Vuelta in 2022 and 2023. He is yet to finish the Italian race, which he led earlier this year before abandoning because of COVID while wearing the leader’s jersey. And in the Spanish Grand Tour he has won GC (2022) and the polka-dot jersey (2023)… but his notable collapse during stage 13 of the Vuelta – when he lost over 27 minutes to stage winner Vingegaard – is a strong reminder of the need to maintain form every day of a Grand Tour.
A focal point of the season
In the months to come much will be written about the Tour of 2024. It is a focal point for the world’s best riders and although we’ll only know the starting line-up days before the start in Florence, part of the pro cycling game is previewing the biggest race of all.
RIDE Media has published the Official Tour de France Guide (Australian edition) since 2003 and this tradition will continue in 2024 when full details of the route will be considered, team lists published, and predictions about the possible champions will be made.
For now, take in the details of the route for the race (29 June to 21 July 2024) and get ready for a Tour de France that will surely be a captivating contest.
– By Rob Arnold
Note: The route for the third edition of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift was also unveiled at the Palais des Congrès overnight. RIDE Media will publish an overview of the itinerary for women’s race (12 August to 18 August 2024) shortly.