Grand Départ in Corsica for the 100th
To launch the hundredth edition of the Tour in a memorable, exceptional and spectacular way, Corsica will host the race start, a first in its history.
For the dream to come true it was necessary for us to establish a shared objective and common desire with our representatives. And this has been achieved. They will be essential to take up the challenge: to make the “Grand Départ” (Official Race Start) an unforgettable occasion for everyone.
Over the last few years, from events to meetings and thanks to the organisation of the Critérium International in Porto-Vecchio, we have got to know each other better. The setting of the Island of Beauty will definitely offer a terrain and roads designed for attacks and we are already thoroughly looking forward to enjoying the magnificent scenery boasted by the sea and the mountains!
Several years ago, when I was appointed as the Director of the Tour, I wanted to organise a meeting called “The Tour of My Dreams”. I remember being told of a remark made by the young son of one of my colleagues: “The Tour of my dreams is the Tour which goes through my town!” Like the public who line the roadside waiting for the peloton, today I can joyfully say: “Here they are!”.Christian PRUDHOMME
Director of Tour de France
2013: the event is historical. This year the Tour de France will celebrate the hundredth edition of the biggest cycling event in the world.
The Tour’s visit to Corsica is also historical. The Island of Beauty is the only region of France which has never been crossed by the race. This year it will welcome the cyclists, the Tour’s followers, the public and all the logistics which will ensure the success of this event. Corsica and the Corsicans are preparing to measure up to the immense sporting and media-related interest associated with peloton.
All the lifeblood of our island is getting ready to welcome the Tour warmly and professionally: the cities of Porto-Vecchio, Bastia, Ajaccio and Calvi have risen to the challenge put forward by the Territorial Collectivity of Corsica, as have the General Councils of Corse-du-Sud and Haute-Corse. Tourism professionals and socio-economic stakeholders have also become involved in this project. Everyone is getting ready to ensure the success of an event that is intended to be a joint achievement.
Therefore, on behalf of everyone, I would like to express our satisfaction, our joy and our impatience to welcome the “Grand Départ” (Official Race Start) of the 2013 Tour de France.
We look forward to welcoming you!
Député de la Haute-Corse,
Président du Conseil Exécutif de Corse
Corsica and cycling
For many, the Tour de Corse brings to mind the famous «Ten Thousand Turns Rally», the historical and spectacular stage of the World Rally Championship.
But those who are keen on cycling know that a race with the same name, now reserved for amateurs, has been a popular event with champions at the beginning of the season for a long time. Just before fighting it out during Paris-Nice, they were already sizing each other up on the hills of the Island of Beauty. The list of winners of the race, created in 1920, features two riders who won the Tour de France in particular, Stephen Roche and Bernard Hinault. And Gilbert Duclos Lassalle, who was victorious in 1980, believes with hindsight that “Corsica was the turning point in my career”.
Before the Tour de France, another prestigious stage race included a stay in Corsica on its route. The stopovers carried out between the island and the mainland during Paris-Nice (1963-64-66) allowed Raymond Poulidor in particular to notch up victories in the towns of Porto-Vecchio and L’Île-Rousse. The cycling elite has been present on Corsica’s roads again since the Critérium International came there in 2010. It was in the ascent to the Col de L’Ospedale in particular that Pierrick Fédrigo and Fränk Schleck built their successes during the three stages of the race.
Situated in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Corsica is characterized by the strength of its identity: an identity which is visual, historical and collective.
The Island of Beauty has thousands of attractions. The richness of its natural heritage boasts landscapes with a wide variety of fauna and flora. Pine forests, lakes, scrubland and vineyards stretch out between the sea and the mountains. Cristal-clear waters run alongside fine sand beaches, unspoilt coves and steep granite cliffs, along the coastline which covers more than 1,000 kilometres.
Above all Corsica is a lively island. The cities which will be crossed by the peloton of the 2013 Tour de France each have specific features: Porto-Vecchio, the City of Salt, combines economic activity and beautiful scenery typical of the south of the island. Bastia, more to the north, is highly original as it epitomizes Corsica’s urban, classical and Baroque features and has proved it is a cutting edge city whose natives speak their mind. Ajaccio, the Imperial City, boasts thousands of attractions: a dynamic city centre and exceptional natural sites, such as La Parata which can be discovered by taking the Îles Sanguinaires road. Lastly, Calvi, Semper fidelis and the capital of Balagna, wins over visitors with the appeal of its citadel and the activity of its port, making it one of the most popular cities for tourists, thanks to its many attractions.
Corsica’s richness is also due to its expertise, resulting from the challenge represented by combining ancient practices such as village fairs, the wine-producing culture and gastronomy with modern activities, characterized by the development of services, the network of infrastructures and the conservation of the region.
Corsica is thus proud of its history, has a strong sense of unity and invites you to discover its culture, heritage and its dynamism.
Situated about 170 kilometres south east of the French mainland, Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea with a surface area of 8, 680 square kilometres and has almost 300, 000 inhabitants.
It is made up of two departments, Corse-du-Sud and Haute-Corse which form the Territorial Collectivity of Corsica (CTC). The CTC has a special status with regard to the other French regions and comprises three bodies: the Executive Council, the Corsican Assembly and the Economic, Social and Cultural Council which has an advisory role.
The seat of the CTC and the prefecture of Corse-du-Sud are situated in Ajaccio, which has 65, 000 inhabitants. Bastia (44, 000 inhabitants) is the prefecture town of Haute-Corse and Calvi (5, 500 inhabitants) is one of its sub-prefecture towns. Porto-Vecchio (11, 500 inhabitants) is a cantonal subdivision of Corse-du-Sud.
Dates to remember
Wednesday 26th June: Opening of the race headquarters and the press centre which will be set up on a ship ferry. The ferry will be moored in the port of Porto-Vecchio and will follow the progress of the race every day
Thursday 27th June: Presentation of the teams of the 2013 Tour de France in Porto-Vecchio
Saturday 29th June: First stage, Porto-Vecchio > Bastia
Sunday 30th June: Second stage, Bastia > Ajaccio
Monday 1st July: Third stage, Ajaccio > Calvi
By plane: Daily links from mainland France to the airports of Ajaccio, Bastia, Calvi and Figari
By boat: From Marseille, Nice or Toulon to Ajaccio, Bastia, Calvi, L’Île-Rousse, Porto-Vecchio or Propriano
Journey time: From 3 hours with the HSC (high speed craft) to 10 hours
Peloton, Corsican style...
Stage 1 - Saturday 29th june 200km
Porto-Vecchio / Bastia
The start of the 100th edition of the Tour de France will take place on the port of Porto-Vecchio. The peloton will head to the south of the island to the outskirts of Bonifacio and after passing through Porto-Vecchio again, it will go north on the east coast road which leads to Bastia.
This stage will be on flat ground without any major difficulties. Before they embark on the final stretch, the riders may have time to glance at the Roman remains of Mariana. The finish line will be marked out on the lagoon road, along the Lake Biguglia Nature Reserve.
Stage 2 - Sunday 30th june 155km
Bastia / Ajaccio
The magnificent Place Saint-Nicolas, one of the biggest squares in Europe, will be the setting for the start of the 2nd stage. The riders will then pass in front of Furiani Stadium, the Mecca of Corsican football, and head south again. Things will start to get more complicated after Corte, on the steep roads in the centre of the island. The Cols de Bellagranajo (723 m), de la Serra (807 m) and de Vizzavona (1,163 m) will have to be climbed in particular, without forgetting the ascent of the steep slope of Monte Salario, ten kilometres from the finish. It will be judged on the headland of La Parata, with the majestic scenery of the Îles Sanguinaires as a backdrop.
Stage 3 - Monday 1st July 145km
Ajaccio / Calvi
The third act of the “Grand Départ” (Official Race Start) in Corsica will unfold on the Place Moit, beside the beach and the Mediterranean Sea.
The peloton will then go along the west coast of the island and head north on the winding roads which cross, in particular, the magnificent creeks of Piana, a listed UNESCO World Heritage site. Like the day before, hilly landscapes will also be featured on the route, with the Col de San Bastiano (415 m) at kilometre fifteen, and then further on, the Cols de Lava (498 m), de Palmarella (374 m) and de Marsolino (443 m). The finish of the stage will take place on the road from Calenzana to Calvi.
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