Italian cycling commemorated with Florence start to 2024 Tour de France

Paris (AFP) – Starting the 2024 Tour de France in Florence will fix an “incongruity” and celebrate Italian cycling, race director Christian Prudhomme told AFP on Wednesday as he confirmed the first-ever Italian Grand Depart.

The 2024 Tour will start with three stages in Italy and, because of the Paris Olympics, will end in Nice, the first time since 1905 that it will not reach its climax on the streets of the capital.

“The Tour has started from all the countries bordering France,” said Prudhomme who is in Italy until Friday to present the 26th Grand Depart from outside French borders, the third in a row after Copenhagen in 2022 and Bilbao in 2023.

“It has even started six times from the Netherlands, which has no common border with France. But it has never started from Italy.

“It’s an incongruity that will disappear.”

The first stage, on June 29, which Prudhomme describes as “a mid-mountain, or even mountain stage, with an elevation gain of 3,700 metres”, takes the peloton from Florence to Rimini.

The second, cut out for the punchers, will start from Cesenatico and will go via Imola to Bologna.

The third is a sprinters’ stage from Piacenza to Turin. The fourth stage will also start in Italy before finishing in France.

The Florence start will also be an opportunity to celebrate Italian cycling with 2024 marking the centenary of Ottavio Bottecchia’s victory in the 1924 edition, the first by an Italian.

The first stage will pass the Gino Bartali museum, dedicated to the Tour winner of 1938 and 1948. It will also pass the resting place of another two-time champion Fausto Coppi.

And there will be a stage start in Cesenatico where 1998 winner Marco Pantani is buried.

“There is an obvious link with the legend of Italian cycling and its champions,” said Prudhomme.

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