Tour de France organisers confirm 2013 Grand Départ in Corsica
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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tour de France organisers confirm 2013 Grand Départ in Corsica

by Shane Stokes at 4:35 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
First three days of 100th edition to be held on island

Tour de FranceFor the first time in its history, the Tour de France will start in Corsica, with the stunning island to host the Grand Départ in 2013.

Following reports by local media, race organisers ASO have now confirmed the news, making it official that the 100th edition of the race will begin there.

“Mister Paul Giacobbi, President of the “Collectivité Territoriale de Corse” and Mister Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France, have the great pleasure of announcing that the Grand Depart (start) of the 100th edition of the Tour de France will take place in Corsica in 2013,” stated ASO this morning.

“It will be the first time that the ‘Beauty Island’ and its two departments will welcome the peloton of the greatest cycling race in the world. Despite the fact that many cycling events have already taken place on its territory, Corsica remains the only region of metropolitan France to have never received the visit of the Tour de France.”

It added that the full details would be unveiled at a press conference held on Tuesday the 6th of December 2011 at the Hôtel de Région in Ajaccio.

Reported by local newspaper Corse Matin as costing €2 million to hold the first three stages in Corsica, the hosting of the event there is significant for two reasons. Firstly, it will be the 100th edition of the Tour, making the Grand Depart an even bigger occasion than usual. Secondly, France and the island have had an at-times tense relationship, and so there is a considerable symbolism in the gesture.

Until now Corsica is the sole French département not to have been visited by the Tour during its long history.

The idea has been studied by ASO for some time and, in what was seen as a dry run for the Tour, the past two editions of the Critérium International have been held there.

Speculation grew further about the Grand Départ when in October 2010, the mayor of the city of Porto-Vecchio said that he wanted to extend the agreement between ASO, the Critérium International and the island until 2013, two years longer than initially proposed. Then last December the top governing body l’Assemblée de Corse approved the Tour de France start there, six months after ASO reportedly decided that it was on the cards.

Corse Matin states that Porto-Vecchio will host the start of the first stage, which will be a road race rather than a prologue, and that it will finish in Bastia. Ajaccio and Calvi are suggested as the other stage towns.

It is thought that a chartered ship will be put on to transport the race vehicles back to mainland France once the stages there are completed. Two airports are also available for use, with the riders likely to be flown to the mainland.

More details are expected to emerge either on December 6th or possibly beforehand.

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