Yvelines to host the finale until 2023
March 20 th 2019 - 18:08
The Yvelines department has signed an agreement with the Tour de France organisers to host the start of the final stage until completion of the 2023 edition. In the Chevreuse Valley or commencing in Versailles, in department number 78, the Tour de France has witnessed dramatic turnarounds or shows of bravery that have remained in the annals of the race, with more pages of history still to be written.
For the most part, the Tour de France is decided at high altitude in mountain ranges. However, each year the show offered by the last stage is still among the most popular with viewers from all over the world. The celebration of the Yellow Jersey, the final stakes that are still up for grabs in the race and the images of Paris in the summer contribute to the charm of this exceptional procession. For this grand finale, Paris is always twinned with a start town nearby (or indeed a little further away), where Christian Prudhomme, in the race director’s red car, waves the flag to give starter’s orders. In this final day sequence, the Yvelines department is among the most faithful of destinations that have left their mark in the history of the Grande Boucle, featuring, for example, on the route of the very first edition in 1903, immediately before the finish in Ville-d’Avray. Somewhat nearer to the present day, the famous duel in 1964 between Anquetil and Poulidor, of which the sumptuous photos on the climb up the Puy-de-Dôme have gone down in history, was followed by a time-trial between Versailles and Paris, won by Anquetil. In 1979, another duel materialised in the Chevreuse Valley, with a breakaway by the Yellow Jersey, Bernard Hinault, and his closest pursuer, Joop Zoetemelk, which finished with a sprint on the Champs-Elysées, in which Bernard “The Badger” Hinault tasted victory. Ten years later, it was on a time-trial between Versailles and Paris that the Tour de France witnessed the closest finish in its history, as Greg LeMond triumphed just eight seconds ahead of Laurent Fignon.
In the more recent past, the Yvelines department has made a habit of providing prestigious opening stages to Paris-Nice, as well as first-rate starts for the conclusion of the Tour de France. Such was the case in Rambouillet in 2012, then at the Château de Versailles to complete the 100th edition in 2013, and finally in Houilles last year. The race will continue to visit the department until 2023, starting with a return to Rambouillet on 28th July.