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Utrecht 2015: the colour of cycling

news28.11.2013Pre-race

© / A.S.O.

In 2015, the Netherlands will host the Grand Start of the Tour de France for the sixth time. Utrecht, one of the cities which have done the most to foster a cycling culture will be the meeting point for the riders and fans to celebrate cycling in all its dimensions. The festivities started this morning at the residence of the Dutch ambassador to France in Paris. Bernard Hinault, Jan Janssen and Joop Zoetemelk, some of the distinguished guests in attendance, then hopped onto a Thalys painted in Tour livery which took them to Utrecht.

The countdown has begun. There is a year, seven months and six days until the 102nd edition of the Tour de France kicks off from Utrecht. The fourth largest city in the Netherlands will be at the heart of the cycling world as well as its country. After bursting back onto the scene in July 2013 with Bauke Mollema (6th) and Laurens Ten Dam (13th), the Dutch armada will work hard to shine in front of the home crowds in the opening time trial of July 4. A 13.7 km pancake-flat course entirely within the city will decide who gets to wear the first yellow jersey of the 2015 Tour. The next day, the peloton will congregate in front of Utrecht's Exhibition Centre for the start of the first road race stage. Plenty of cards to play for the Dutch, who have not won a Tour stage since 2005. The roaring crowds will hope that one of their heroes can follow in the footsteps of Jan Janssen and Joop Zoetemelk, who won the Grande Boucle in 1968 and 1980, respectively.


Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France: "The Netherlands is a cycling nation, one which has written quite a few remarkable chapters of the history of the Tour de France. Utrecht's main attraction was the way it's integrated cycling into its day-to-day life. Its natural and palpable relationship with cycling is quite simply an inspiration".


Key dates of the Utrecht Grand Start

Wednesday, July 1: opening of the reception area and press centre at Utrecht's Jaarbeurs Exhibition Centre.
Thursday, July 2: team presentation in the Lepelenburg Park.
Saturday, July 4: Stage 1, Utrecht (13.7 km ITT)
Sunday, July 5: start of stage 2, Utrecht–?

The news in pictures

photo28/11/2013 

© / A.S.O.

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