Copenhagen has been selected to host the Grand Départ of the Tour de France in 2021.
It will be the first time the grand tour has visited Denmark and only the second time one of the three Grand Tours has visited the country. The Danish capital will also be the northernmost starting point in the history of the event.
SportBusiness understands the distance between Denmark and France had previously been a sticking point in the city’s attempts to host the event, which is operated by Amaury Sport Organisation. The organisers will overcome this by scheduling an additional day of travel and a rest day between the three stages in Denmark and the next stage of the event in France.
The three-day Grand Départ will start with a 13km individual time trial passing from the east of the city to the centre. The second stage will be a 190km ride from Roskilde and Nyborg and the final Danish stage will start in the Fjords and the town of Vejle and finishes after 170km in Sonderborg.
Copenhagen vies with Amsterdam for the title of cycling capital of the world with over 379km of designated cycling paths. The UCI nominated it as its first “bike city” in 2007, a designation which recognises cities with clear strategies to grow and promote everyday cycling, as well as those that host UCI major cycling events. Copenhagen hosted the UCI World Championships in 2011.
Race director Christian Prudhomme said:“Of course the Tour de France, with the best professional sports cyclists in the world, had to visit Denmark and Copenhagen – the best country and the best city in the world for everyday cycling. The Grand Départ Copenhague – Danemark 2021 is the ‘rendez-vous’ to celebrate the mutual inspiration between every day cycling and professional cycling.
Mikkel Aarø-Hansen, chief executive of Wonderful Copenhagen said: “Biking is a vital part of the lifestyle in Copenhagen where bikes actually outnumber cars. Copenhagen is a true bike and a top event city.”
Brussels will host this year’s Grand Départ while Nice will be the start location for 2020.