2010 Tour de France start details announced

The 2010 Tour de France Grand Départ was presented today in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Race organiser...

The 2010 Tour de France Grand Départ was presented today in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Race organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) made official the details of the first two days of the French Grand Tour, including the nine kilometre opening time trial in the Dutch harbour city on Saturday, July 3, 2010.

The 2010 Tour will be launched from the south side of Rotterdam, with the start ramp set up in Zuidplein, from where the riders will head north. The first stretch will take them to the Erasmus Bridge. At this point, a minor rise as well as a constant wind will play havoc with the riders' rhythms.

After a sharp bend to the right, the route will wind back up the banks of the New Meuse River for one kilometre. The transfer back to the left bank will be made via the two bridges that cross the 'Nordereiland' peninsula. To arrive at the finish near the 'Ahoy' stadium, the riders will follow the same road taken in the first two kilometres, but in the opposite direction.

The start of the second stage will be given at 'De Heuvelpark' for the traditional pre-race procession through Rotterdam town centre. The departure from the town will take the riders out west into a particularly windswept region: on the Zeeland polders. The race will then move due south and cross the border separating the Netherlands from Belgium, approximately twenty kilometres north of Antwerp. The stage finish in Belgium has not yet been announced.

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