The 97th edition of the Tour de France will kick off on July 3, 2010, in the busy European port city of Rotterdam in the South Holland province of The Netherlands. On Thursday, Tour de France organizers announced that the Dutch city had been awarded the privilege of hosting the opening day of the French Grand Tour.
"Rotterdam is a great metropolis and (as the start venue) is sure to be a big popular success – it does all it can to enable people to get around by bike," said Tour de France Director Christian Prudhomme according to the AFP.
Rotterdam won the selection over the Dutch city of Utrecht. Germany's Dusseldorf had previously also expressed interest in hosting.
The Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), organizers of the Tour de France, said in a statement on its web site that it chose Rotterdam because in addition to it being another big city, like London, to showcase the use of bikes for urban transportation, it provided a location well positioned considering the rest of the route envisioned for the 2010 edition.
The start in Rotterdam will mark the fifth time The Netherlands kicks off the Tour de France. More details about the Grand Départ will be announced on December 11 in a press conference at the Nieuwe Luxor Theater in Rotterdam.
The next edition of the Tour de France, in 2009, will commence in the Principality of Monaco on July 4.