The 109th edition of the Tour de France will get under way in Copenhagen on 1 July. Never before has the Grande Boucle ventured so far north. The three stages before the transfer suit power riders, windswept classics specialists and sprinters like a glove.
The Little Mermaid is already fluttering her eyelashes at the followers of the Tour. Heading into the last 100 days before the start of the Tour de France, the Danes rolled out the red carpet for a host of guests and gave them the chance to get acquainted with the landscapes, towns and cities of the first three stages. Among other things, journalists got to ride and recon the 13-kilometre urban course of the opening time trial in Copenhagen. The wind-battered weather in the finale of the stage to Nyborg contrasted with the sunny skies of the capital, but it was to be expected because the last 18 kilometres will take place on bridges on the seafront. Course designer Thierry Gouvenou stressed just how decisive this stretch of stage 2 could be: “The wind blows non-stop here”, he explained between one gust and the next. “It is usually a three-quarter headwind, but there will definitely be moves and one man’s pain will be another man’s gain. If I had to give the title contenders one piece of advice, it would be to choose solid teammates who know their way around the peloton because the differences could be quite substantial. Considering how hard it is to claw back time in the mountains, there is a lot to play for in Nyborg”.
The fifth edition of the Dictée du Tour, which will take place on Friday 25 March with almost 26,000 students from virtually every stage town and city of the 2022 Tour de France, was preceded by a preliminary session held at the Lycée Français Prins Henrik in Copenhagen. For the première, Christian Prudhomme, who was just as comfortable dictating a text as waving the start flag, read an announcement, published over two years ago, of the Tour’s first visit to Denmark. 400 children aged 8 to 12, including French, Danish and international students in Copenhagen, were confronted with tricky words such as septentrional and triptyque. The Tour does not lay traps, but it is really hard!
The Grand Départ Trophy continues its adventure after nine years of criss-crossing the continent and flying over the sea, from Porto-Vecchio to Nice, with stopovers in places such as Düsseldorf, Brussels and Leeds and the traditional visit to the Champs-Élysées on the final day of each Tour. The president of the Regional Council of Brittany, Loïg Chesnais-Girard, handed it over to Lars Weiss, then Mayor of Copenhagen, last July, and it has since been presented and put on display in the four other Danish towns and cities on the route of the 2022 edition —Sønderborg, Vejle, Nyborg and Roskilde— before making its way back to Copenhagen. Local sports celebrities and a multitude of cyclists have escorted it on each of these trips. A retinue of amateur cyclists including Christian Prudhomme and Sophie Hæstorp Andersen, newly elected head of the municipality, accompanied the trophy to the museum in Copenhagen where it will remain until late June.
The idea of launching a bid to host the Grand Départ of the Tour de France started to take shape in the offices of Copenhagen City Hall a few years ago. The halls of this majestic brick building were therefore the ideal venue for a solemn reception marking 100 days to go until the start, run by Copenhagen City Hall, which happens to chair the 2022 Grand Départ organising committee. “In 100 days, the Tour de France – the world’s largest cycling race – will start in Denmark and the world’s best cycling city, Copenhagen. Across three amazing stages, we will show our beautiful cycling country to the entire world and make a huge celebration, which will bring everyone together. It does not get better than this,” says Sophie Hæstorp Andersen, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen and Chairman of the Board of Grand Départ Copenhagen Denmark. Christian Prudhomme drove the point home: “It was only natural for us to heed the call of Copenhagen: people who love cycling speak the same language when racing, going for a ride or commuting on their bicycles. After working together for months, it has become patently clear that our shared, multifaceted passion brings us together. I have no doubt that all the riders and followers of the race who will converge here will feel the exact same enthusiasm”. The cityscape of the Danish capital is already steeped in the colours of the Tour. After inaugurating an official shop near City Hall, the director of the Tour de France unveiled an XXXL yellow jersey measuring 9 × 6 m that will adorn the facade of the French embassy in the coming months. The stage is set!
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