The choice of Rotterdam, a vast urban centre with one million two hundred thousand inhabitants, is directly in keeping with the special start of the Tour in London in 2007. The proposed project – “Rotterdam and the Tour, a new energy” – seduced us. It fits into an overall policy that aims to an even bigger place for the bicycle in the city’s heart, while leaning on the popularity of the biggest cycling race in the world, the Tour de France. From the banks of the Thames to the biggest port in Europe: the same desire, the same will.
In 2010, the Netherlands, which gave the bicycle its nickname of “little queen”, will host the Grand Départ of the Tour for the fifth time. A journalist recently asked me why the Netherlands has been favoured compared to the other countries (“only” three starts each for Belgium and Germany, two for Luxembourg, one for Spain and none in Italy, for instance). Besides the geographical location, which gives the organisers every freedom to organise the route in its entirety, a large part of the answer lies in these few lines, written in L’Équipe in 1954, when the Grande Boucle decided to start outside French borders for the very first time: “All of the Netherlands seemed to have gathered on the roads of Wassenaar, Delft, Rotterdam… Tens of thousands of spectators in closed ranks, uninterrupted, for kilometres and kilometres, clapping, cheering for everything that had to do with the Tour, the cyclists, the motorcyclists, the cars that followed or that led… [In this way] they made a triumph of the first stage!”
I do not believe that I am taking any risks by stating that these words were a taste of the future. A huge party is already being prepared with all the Dutch people, including, naturally, our friends from Utrecht, who are rightly disappointed today. In Rotterdam, between the Rhine and the Meuse, the Tour will depart with its feet in the water, so to speak, for the third time in a row. After Brest with the Atlantic Ocean, the Principality of Monaco with the Mediterranean Sea, here we have the North Sea, which the route across Zeeland will allow us to admire at our leisure. However, at the beginning of July 2010, it will be the enthusiasm and the jubilation of the people because of the Tour that will blow us away.
Director of Tour de France
Christian Prudhomme, director of Tour de France & Ivo W. Opstelten, mayor of Rotterdam.
It is with much pleasure that I would like to inform you that the 2010 Tour de France will be starting in Rotterdam. In being awarded this Grand Départ, Rotterdam has won the top prize. It is a tremendous honour to be host to the most wonderful cycling event in the world.
Rotterdam is not only the biggest port in Europe, but also the foremost sporting city of the Netherlands. The choice by the Tour de France for Rotterdam underscores this in a very special way. No other city in the Netherlands offers so many top sport events each year. Rotterdammers are proud sports enthusiasts, as can be seen by the hundreds of thousands of spectators that our sports events manage to draw every year.
The Grand Départ of the Tour de France also gives us an opportunity to draw attention to another of the city’s ambitions. Under the motto “New Energy”, we are creating a link between sustainability, exercise, health and youth and the sport of cycling. The world needs new energy – sustainable energy that emits less CO2; new energy from cycling for and by the youth of Rotterdam. A healthy mind in a healthy body in a healthy city. The Tour de France and Rotterdam will be putting new energy into many projects and events over the months to come.
Furthermore, the Tour de France and Rotterdam are old friends. The Tour caravan has ridden through the city three times before: in 1954, the Tour visited Rotterdam; in 1973, the city was one of the cities on a stage; and in 1978, the Tour made a third procession through the city. In short: we have an intense history with the Tour.
We are convinced that in 2010 the city will form a fantastic backdrop to the most spectacular cycling event in the world. From the 1st until the 4th of July 2010, you can experience it yourself. You are more than welcome here.
Me Ivo OPSTELTEN
Situated in the province of South Holland, near the North Sea and at the river mouth shared by the Rhine and the Meuse, Rotterdam has approximately 600,000 inhabitants, with more than a million in the greater Rotterdam area.
The second most important city in the Netherlands after the capital Amsterdam, Rotterdam is the biggest port in Europe and one of the most important in the world. Founded in the 12th century near a dam in the river Rotte, from which the city derives its name, today Rotterdam forms an industrial, commercial and financial centre, and is the seat of the Erasmus University.
After having been destroyed in 1940 at the start of the Second World War, the city centre was rebuilt, giving the city its modern character.
By aeroplane: Rotterdam Airport (5 km from the centre of town), or Schiphol Airport (Amsterdam), 45 km away.
Individual time-trial course.
The launching pad will actually be set up in Zuidplein, from where the riders will move north.
The first stretch will take them to the majestic Erasmus Bridge. At this point, it is not the minor incline that will play havoc with the champions’ rhythm, but the wind that sweeps relentlessly across the estuary.
After a sharp bend to the right, the route will wind back up the course of the New Meuse River. The transfer back to the left bank will be made via the two bridges that cross the “Nordereiland” peninsula.
To arrive at the finish the riders will follow the same avenue but in the opposite direction.
Before the start of the stage the pack of riders on the 2010 Tour will enjoy a final stroll through Rotterdam town centre, following the start in De Heuvelpark. Prior to their departure from the town they will also receive the visit of some of the 18 municipalities that make up Rotterdam’s urban community.
The “leap” west will take them into a particularly windswept region: on the Zeeland polders the most enterprising will certainly be able to gain ground, just like the Dutch pioneers of old who conquered the North Sea.
The race will then move due south and will cross the border separating the Netherlands from Belgium, approximately twenty kilometres north of Antwerp.
In 2010, the Grand Départ from Rotterdam will be the fifth time that it starts in the Netherlands. It was in Amsterdam, in 1954, that the start of the Tour de France first took place outside French borders.
|Amsterdam > Anvers||Wout WAGTMANS|
|Woluwé Saint-Pierre > Maastricht||Julien STEVENS|
|Scheveningen (prologue, clm. ind.)||Joop ZOETEMELK|
|Scheveningen > Rotterdam||Willy TEIRLINCK|
|Leiden (prologue, clm. ind.)||Jan RAAS|
|Leiden > Saint-Willebrord||Jan RAAS|
|Bruxelles > Valkenburg||Gilles DELION|
|s’Hertogenbosch (prologue, clm. ind.)||Alex ZÜLLE|
|s’Hertogenbosch (1st stage)||Frédéric MONCASSIN|
|Esch-sur-Alzette > Valkenburg||Matthias KESSLER|
Jan Janssen © Presse Sports
Joop Zoetemelk © Presse Sports
Elegant sunglasses, the build of an athlete and a stern expression: the impression created by Jan Janssen was enough to impress the greatest of cyclists.
By the time the title of “world champion” fell to Janssen in 1964, the Dutchman had already started to lay down the law on the roads of the Tour. With a handful of stage victories in the bag, “the professor” won the green jersey three times (1964, 1965, 1967).
Tipped to win the Tour in 1966, and finishing in 2nd place, Janssen surged to join the list of winners of the Tour in 1968, after having lain in ambush during the three weeks of the race. In the time-trial final, he eclipsed Herman Van Springel, with the smallest margin for this stage ever in the history of the Tour: 38 seconds.
1970 marked the start of Merckx’s reign. It was also the only year in which Janssen rode in the same peloton as Zoetemelk.
For this unconscious passing of the baton, the young Joop made a remarkable entry, achieving second place at the finish – 12 minutes and 45 seconds ahead of Merckx!
Although he did wear the Yellow Jersey after his victory in the prologue of Scheveningen (1973), the eternal role of runner-up was to be his for the rest of his life. Blocked by Merckx, Zoetemelk after that bore the brunt of the tidal wave that was Hinault. But perseverence eventually paid off: after five second places, he finally became the “Dutchman of France” in 1980. Once again confronted by Hinault, who was nicknamed “the badger”, Zoetemelk used the years after that to build up an amazing record: in 1986, he completed his 16th Tour in a row.
Le Pont Erasmus
Rotterdam is a multifaceted and attractive city. A city with a vibrant nightlife, a variety of museums and a wealth of shops. Rotterdam is a city of surprises, always able to captivate visitors. The modern world city also hosts many large-scale events in the field of art, music, dance, drama and, of course, sport. The range of top sporting venues includes those for almost all Olympic sports. Every year, Rotterdam plays host to major sporting events. In the coming years, these not only include the Grand Départ of the Tour de France (2010), but also the World Championships Judo (2009), World Championships Artistic Gymnastics (2010), European Championships Dressage (2011) and the World Championships Table Tennis (2011).
Through hard work and its geographic location, Rotterdam has managed to develop into Europe’s largest port. A massive complex with modern commercial activity. Rotterdam is also progressive when it comes to our environment. The city is working towards a better climate for man, the environment and the economy. The climate programme – the Rotterdam Climate Initiative – aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 50 % in 2025. Under the heading “New Energy”, these ambitions will also receive extra attention during the Grand Départ of the Tour de France. Cycling is an appropriate alternative for a cleaner and healthier environment.
Another gauge of the city’s attractiveness is the unique architecture. Many world-famous home-grown and international architects have made their mark here in the form of beautiful (high) buildings, bridges and other structures. Multifaceted Rotterdam is therefore pleased to introduce itself to you as: Rotterdam World Port, World City.