The biggest show on earth

Copenhagen is no stranger to streets that are crowded with tourists and locals – especially in the summer.

And it will not be any different on July 1, when eager Danes with a passion for cycling stand along the city streets to watch the first stage of the : the prologue.

The capital is known for being one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, so it only makes sense for the biggest cycling competition to make its Grand Départ here.

Forms a giant loop
‘The Grande Boucle’ (The Great Bow) made its debut in 1903 as a six-stage race over a distance of 2,428 km. This year it consists of 21 stages and 3,328 km of cycling.

It was created by former cyclist Henri Desgrange as an advertising event for L’Auto, the sports newspaper for which he was editor. The race appeared on the front page of the newspaper the same year with the headline “Tour de France: the biggest cycling race in the world”.

It was an assertion that has stood the test of time well.

Bump on the road
However, the race could have been completed before it had barely begun. After just two years, organizers considered shutting it down due to high amounts of cheating and sabotage among competitors, which even included some of those catching a train to complete the stages at a faster pace.

And then in 1914, the race started on June 28, the same day that Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, triggering the start of World War I. The race was duly suspended until 1919.

Similarly, 1939 proved to be the last race until the end of World War II. After occupied France, they pushed for the Tour de France to be held to create the feeling that there was still some form of normality in the country. However, these requests were rejected by L’Auto.

The biggest show on earth
(photo: Tour de France)

Tenth to attend the party
As the Tour de France has evolved over the years, the start, which until 1950 was held in the metropolitan region of Île-de-France each year bore one.

To expand its appeal, the organizers decided to host what became known as
Grand Départ in other regions of France and then, starting in 1954, other countries, starting with Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Since then, eight other countries have hosted the Grand Départ – , , Germany, Spain, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Monaco – making the tenth.

Two of the ten, Belgium and Switzerland, will also host stages this year, making 2022 the first time the race has been held in four countries.

Long wait is almost over
Denmark was originally to host the Grand Départ in 2021. After the postponement of the European Championships 2020, however, it was thought best to move it to Brittany last year. With its move to Denmark, this will be the farthest north the trip has ever traveled.

Several Danish companies, including the tourist organizations and , have therefore joined forces with the Tour de France to help bring the Grand Départ here.

In addition, the race, which will be seen by an audience of 150 million viewers in Europe alone, will show Denmark’s main attractions above all to see, attract interest in the country and potentially add Denmark to the tourism bucket lists around the world.

The biggest show on earth
(photo: facebook / le tour dk)

Could blow a little
The first three stages of the Tour de France 2022 will take place in Denmark, starting with an of 13.2 km in Copenhagen. The curved route can prove to be a challenge for cyclists – especially if the weather gods conjure up one of their famous windy days.

The second stage between Roskilde and Nyborg will cover a distance of 202.2 km. As the riders have to finish on Funen, they have to cross the Great Belt Bridge, which is 18 km long and again potentially very windy!
The third and final stage, a route of 182 km from Vejle to Sønderborg, will most likely be the easiest of the three in terms of wind: A good day for the teams chasing glory for their sprinters.

A day of rest will follow when competitors are on their way to France. Catching the train will be within the rules of this occasion.

Host timeline for Denmark:

May 2012 – Denmark hosts the three initial stages of the Giro d’Italia 2012. The racing takes place primarily in and around the central Jutland cities of Herning and Horsens. The seed is set for future endeavors.

November 2015 – There will first be news about a possible Danish bid to host the start of the Tour de France – more specifically the 2018 edition.

June 2016 – The Danish government and Frank Jensen, Mayor of Copenhagen, propose an official bid to host the start of the Tour de France. The offer is confirmed by Minister of Trade Troels Lund Povlsen at a ceremony in the House of Denmark on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. The race’s general manager Christian Prudhomme comments that the trip “has never been so far north” before.

August 2018 – French President Emmanuel Macron visits Denmark with Prudhomme. Together, they present the Danish Prime Minister with a yellow jersey, the famous yellow jersey
awarded to the rider who completes the race in the least amount of time.

February 2019 – The news has been confirmed that Grande Départ 2021 will be held in Denmark with the opening stage in Copenhagen.

March 2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic hits Denmark. Questions are quickly raised about the possibility of holding the European Championship 2020, which includes four matches at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen.

August 2020 – The organizers of the Grand Départ in Denmark admitted that it will not be possible to host the same year as the EC 2020 games, so officially postpone until 2022. Brittany steps in to host the Grand Départ 2021 instead

Source: The Nordic Page

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