sporting interest, less complex logistics, creation of an identity… The non-stop route through Paris delights the teams

If the 2022 edition started from the Capital, this year the runners are skipping it. A route that won over the teams, thanks to the many advantages of this eight-day race.

The triumphal arrival on the Champs-Elysées at the end of three weeks of racing is part of the tradition of the men’s Tour de France. The symbol is so strong that last year, for the first edition of the Tour de France Women, the organizers decided to make it the site of the Grand Départ, a few hours before the arrival of the men.

“The first year we wanted to leave Paris, because it seemed important to us to have this handover between men and women, debuts Marion Rousse, director of the Tour de France Women. But in an eight day race, when you leave Paris, if you want to go to the Alps or the Pyrenees, the transfer is longer. Sportingly speaking, we had to find another option.”

The choice of Clermont as the city of departure

For this second edition, the choice of starting city fell on Clermont-Ferrand, which also hosts the kick-off of the second stage. The mountainous good, available to the city, convinced the organizers. “Here we can make interesting stages from the start, which can play for the general classification and, of course, we put the difficulties at the end of the course every time to really give the race a boost”. Marion Rousse abounds.

Within the teams, if the departure from Paris seduced last year, this has not been lacking this year. “Last year it was truly incredible, legendary, to leave Paris. Having already done it once isn’t bad, but I think it’s good to also look for different paths, and precisely to avoid too big transfers. It’s also quite in tune with the times”. underlines Séverine Eraud of the Cofidis team. “It really was a stroke of genius to get us out of Paris, because it really put women’s cycling in the spotlight,” confirms her teammate Morgane Coston.

“As runners, we benefited from the public who came to see the men. But you also have to be able to vary and not always stay on the same stages. Clermont-Ferrand can reserve surprises.”

Morgane Coston, rider of the Cofidis team

to franceinfo: sports

Especially since, during an eight-day race, opening up to other options that Paris has a sporting interest. “This allows you to reach the Pyrenees, or the Alps, like this year with the Col du Tourmalet, develops Marion Hérault-Garnier, consultant for France Télévisions. With a transfer from Paris, it’s more complicated on such a short tour. There are only eight days of racing and the UCI (International Cycling Union) limits the number of kilometers per stage. There are waivers every time to have longer stages, so you don’t necessarily have to do what you want when setting up a race.”

Create your identity

Making the Parisian impasse is also a way to create your own “your own identity”, we emphasize within teams. “For men, the legendary finish on the Champs-Elysées is an important day. But for women, the Tour de France is still a blank sheet to write. You can fill it as you like, because nothing is set in stone and it’s very positive,” receipt Albert Timmer, coach within the DSM team.

However, the passage through Paris is not entirely to be skipped for runners, quite the contrary. “If in future years the number of stages increases a bit, it would be nice if we could end or start with Paris, because it is still something special, mythical for men, imagine Juliette Labous, from the DSM team. And it could be for us too.”

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