The day after the finish of Paris-Nice, Tour de France organisers unveiled, in the presence of Nice mayor Christian Estrosi and Prince Albert II of Monaco, the details of the last two stages of the 2024 edition.
A mountainous course from Nice to Col de la Couillole has been designed for the 20th stage scheduled on Saturday, July 20th, while the 21st stage will be contested in a 35-km time trial on Sunday, July 21st, between Monaco and Place Masséna in Nice. An ideal programme for an exciting final weekend.
For the Tour de France to finish far from its traditional Parisian finale is already a historic first. But for the last two days of the 2024 edition, an extremely promising menu has been prepared, including all the necessary ingredients for major upsets at the top… on Saturday as well as on Sunday!
The weekend on the French Riviera will start with a mountain stage that will be as tight (132 km) as it is tough. There will be a Paris-Nice feel to it for, after rediscovering the Col de Braus, the peloton will tackle the climb to Col de Turini where Egan Bernal wore the yellow jersey in 2019 as did Primoz Roglic in 2022.
Riders familiar with the Race to the Sun will then return to Col de La Colmiane, where Roglic also triumphed on his last visit in 2021. Going up, down and up again, climbers will finally battle it out on Col de la Couillole, which saw Richie Porte in 2017 and Tadej Pogacar in 2023 raise their arms.
After starting out this Tour de France from Italy, the riders will once again cross borders for a handful of kilometres, this time for a short visit to Monaco. The principality was already the launchpad of an individual time trial for the first stage of the 2009 Tour.
This time the main contenders will not be seeking the first yellow jersey of the edition but, much more importantly, the last!
It remains to be seen whether the GC positions at that stage will make it possible, probable, or unrealistic for the most coveted outfit in cycling to change hands in the last TT of the Tour: like Charly Gaul winning the 1958 edition ahead of Vito Favero; Jan Janssen did it at the expense of Herman Van Springel in 1968; Greg LeMond to the dismay of Laurent Fignon in 1989; Cadel Evans quite logically against Andy Schleck in 2011; and most recently Tadej Pogacar in a battle between Slovenians against Primoz Roglic in 2020.
The same two will perhaps face each other in 2024, possibly in the company of Danish, Belgian, Spanish or even French rivals. In this final 35.2-km effort, they will have to make the best of climbs familiar to the Race to the Sun regulars. La Turbie and Col d’Eze feature on the route that will lead them swiftly to Nice and Place Masséna. – www.letour.fr