In synch with the exponential growth of women’s cycling, the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift will reach a new milestone in 2024 with the organisation of the first Grand Départ on foreign soil. Following in the slipstream of Paris and Clermont-Ferrand, the Dutch city of Rotterdam will host the start of the third edition of the biggest women’s bicycle race on Earth. The inaugural edition was already a tremendous ratings success, attaining an average audience share of almost 50% on the national channel NOS and keeping the Dutch glued to their seats as Annemiek van Vleuten rode her way to the title. The Grand Départ is a joint endeavour with The Hague and Dordrecht, which will roll out the red carpet for the finish of stage 1 and the start of stage 2, respectively. As in 2022 and 2023, the race will be shown live on France Télévisions and broadcast in 190 countries.
“We are proud to organise the first foreign Grand Départ of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift together with The Hague and Dordrecht”, said an enthusiastic Ahmed Aboutaleb, the Mayor of Rotterdam. “The Tour’s magic spreads far and wide. This unforgettable event will encourage our citizens to get on their bikes and expand their world.”
“The world hub of women’s cycling was a natural choice to host the biggest bicycle race on Earth,” pointed out Marion Rousse, the director of the race. “The last few seasons have been a tale of Dutch ascendancy. Starting from the home of these champions will kindle a great popular celebration. Expect their supporters to turn out in force!”
The first three stages will run through the Netherlands and the race will take place from Monday, 12th August to Sunday 18th August 2024, between the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.There will be a double stage on Tuesday, 13th August, with an afternoon time trial through the streets of Rotterdam, to add up to 8 stages in 7 days. The rest of the route will be unveiled in the Palais des Congrès on 25th October.
In the meantime, the elite of the peloton are fine-tuning their form ahead of the second edition of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. The Grand Départ is just around the corner. It will take place in less than a fortnight on Sunday 23th July in Clermont-Ferrand, where the Tour de France is due to spend its first rest day on Monday.
“On top of the athletic contest and the crowd-pleasing show, welcoming both versions of the Tour de France is a powerful symbol for Clermont-Ferrand, which sees gender equality as a priority in every area,” explained Olivier Bianchi, the Mayor of Clermont-Ferrand and President of Clermont Auvergne Métropole. “It is also an unprecedented opportunity to put the spotlight on our region and burnish its credentials. The landscapes, heritage, cities, towns and villages of the Central Massif, which lie at the heart of our 2028 European Capital of Culture bid, will enjoy an unparalleled level of media exposure.” A time trial in Pau will bring down the curtain on the second edition on Sunday 30th July, the day after what will no-doubt be an exciting summit finish on the Tourmalet.