” We do not replace Paris like that “, had warned Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France. Olympic Games oblige, the Grande Boucle of 2024 could not end on its traditional arrival in Paris. A first in a hundred and twenty years of racing. The Monaco-Nice duo, chosen for this exceptional relocation, then brought out all its ets: endless pes and a time trial that promise to be very telegenic.
For the first time since 1989 and the legendary eight seconds that separated Greg Lemond and Laurent Fignon, the Tour will end with a stopwatch. A 35 kilometer individual time trial with two climbs and a final finish at Place Ména after a final page along the Promenade des Anglais.
The 20e and the penultimate stage will also be spicy. She does not present “no flat meter”, promises the organization of the Tour, but 4,400 vertical meters in four pes. First that of Braus, where the ashes of the Côte d’Azur climber René Vietto were scattered, a former bellhop for the palaces of the Côte d’Azur who entered into the legend of the Tour by this image of him crying next to his bike deprived of its wheel before, sacrificed for its leader, Antonin Magne. The runners will then cross the valleys of the hinterland by its kilometers of endless switchbacks in roller coasters.
On stage, in a t-shirt and tired of the Paris-Nice edition which he finished in third place, Jonas Vingegaard, winner of the 2022 Tour, seemed to promise a better destiny for his future race in Nice. ” Those last two steps look really hard, analyzed live the Dane, invited for the occasion. That’s good, it’s more of a scenario that works for me. »
“A high level security device”
The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, who says he has changed since the beginning of the organization of this relocation ” as a true city sales representative”, ures him: “Everything is summed up here. We do the stage in the Alps with its elevation, and there is not even a need to take the train for the finish. » And then, by combining an extremely difficult event and an individual time trial, “ the end, this time, will not be decided in advance”, since everything could be decided on this time, far from the usual procession of the last Sunday towards Paris, where the champagne is often out during the stage.
In Nice, Christian Estrosi promises a calculation of “8 euros returned for 1 euro spent”, either ” 50-60 million fallout ” in all. The town hall relies on “more than 6 million overnight stays” reserved for this extraordinary event that she prepared in secret between December 2017 and December 2022.
There remains the question of security. The home straight, on the Promenade des Anglais, before arriving at Place Ména, will present an international symbolic charge since the attacks of July 2016. The date of the Grande Boucle has been brought forward to allow the mobilized police forces to return in Paris for the start of the Olympic Games, ures the elected official, who also says he is counting on ” artificial intelligence » present in the city. Without going into details, the prefecture ensures that ” security meetings between the organizer, the city of Nice and its municipal police, the State and civil security services (…) will be organized very early in order to implement a high-level security system “.
Sofia Fischer(Nice, correspondence)