Rotterdam is set to host Le Grand Départ of the 2024 Tour de France Femmes. Dutch cycling site WielerFlits is reporting via insiders that the third edition of the reboot Tour de France Femmes will begin with a time trial in Rotterdam, a move approved by the event organiser, ASO.
Last week, representatives from Rotterdam attended meetings in Paris to discuss the finer details concerning the commencement of the Tour de France Femmes with ASO. The official confirmation of this news is expected to come through in the next few days at the Grand Depart of the men’s 2023 race in Bilbao.
The plan for the 2024 Tour de France Femmes is that it will start on Monday, August 12, a day after the Olympic Games in Paris come to a close. The opening state is earmarked to be a time trial in Rotterdam, followed by a road stage from Rotterdam to The Hague scheduled for the following day.
Valkenburg had also expressed interest in hosting a finish point in the 2024 Tour de France Femmes. However, the likelihood of this materialising appears to be slim. There is some speculation that the third stage could commence in Valkenburg before heading into Wallonia. ASO has a large part to play in the Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Flèche Wallonne races, so a finish in Huy or Liège might make sense. With a limited amount of stages, approximately 8, having 3 of them not on French soil might not appeal to ASO however.
The links to the Netherlands make sense given the popularity of women’s cycling there and the major race favourites being Dutch. It will come a year too late for Annemiek van Vleuten as she will retire at the end of 2023, but for Demi Vollering, Marianne Vos and Lorena Wiebes, in particular, it would be a chance to show off race jerseys on home soil. Last year’s edition saw 6 stages won by Dutch riders and all of the race leader jerseys going to Dutch riders too.
There are also ties with Rotterdam, The Hague and Valkenburg all applying to host men’s Tour de France Grand Départ stages in the future. In theory, the Netherlands will be able to host the start of the Tour de France again in 2027 and so this may be considered a warm-up for a sweetener for that process to take place. The previous men’s Tour de France Grand Départ was in Utrecht back in 2015. Rotterdam itself last took on the duty in 2010.
Rotterdam, The Hague, and Valkenburg have also applied to host Le Grand Départ and a stage in line with the men’s Tour de France. While no final decisions have been made on this matter, there’s a possibility for the Netherlands to secure a Tour start again in 2027. The last time this occurred was in 2015 when the Tour de France began in Utrecht. Before that, Rotterdam had the privilege in 2010.