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The Tour de France will make an historic “grand départ” on Italian roads for its 111th edition in 2024.
Race director Christian Prudhomme confirmed the highly anticipated news of the Italian start for the 2024 edition during an appearance on Italian TV on Wednesday.
The fanfare will begin June 29 with the opening stage from Florence to Rimini. Stage 2 will roll from Cesenatico to Bologna. The finale of the Italian jaunt is in Turin on 1 July.
“The first three stages offers a majestic panorama of the Italian cities and countryside while opening the hostilities with an exceptional sporting challenge,” a press release stated Wednesday.
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The confirmation comes months of speculation that Italy would finally see its first departure of an edition of the Tour.
Though Italy has hosted dozens of Tour stages over the years, beginning in 1948 and most recently in 2011, Italy has never hosted the hype and fanfare of a Tour “grand départ.”
The Italian expedition in 2024 comes after race owner ASO is already breaking with Tour tradition that same year to move the final stage away from Paris and its nearby suburbs.
With Paris hosting the 2024 Olympic Games, beginning just days after the 2024 Tour is slated to end, officials are placing the final stage to Nice and France’s Côte d’Azur.
📣 Ufficiale: @LeTour 2024 partirà dall’Italia per la prima volta nella storia! 🇮🇹🇫🇷
La Grand Depart da Piazzale Michelangelo a Firenze. Prime 3 tappe tutte nel Bel Paese. Si attraverserà l’Emilia-Romagna per poi arrivare in territorio francese passando dal Piemonte. pic.twitter.com/e4YrDDOXCM
— bici.PRO (@biciPRO1) December 21, 2022
The first three stages of the 2024 Tour de France:
Saturday, 29 June — Stage 1: Florence to Rimini, 205km
Sunday, 30 June — Stage 2: Cesenatico to Bologna, 200km
Monday, 1 July – Stage 3: Piacenza to Turin, 225km
Here’s how ASO described the opening stages:
After leaving the gorgeous Florence, the trek through Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna leading to the seaside finale in Rimini will pit the peloton against a total altitude gain of 3,700 metres from day one — fortune will really favor the bold.
Along the way, the San Marino climb will add the microstate to the list of 14 countries that have hosted the grande boucle.
The next day, starting from the station in Cesenatico, the final resting place of Marco Pantani, the riders will tuck into another hefty serving of climbs on the road to Bologna, where punchers have long traded blows on the ascent to San Luca in the Giro dell’Emilia-Romagna.
It will then be time for the super-speedsters of the peloton to step on the gas pedal in Turin, the capital of Piedmont, which has also become a prestigious sprint finish from all the Giro d’Italia stage finishes it has hosted.