Assemblée de Corse agrees to funding the Grand Départ
As Cyclingnews reported in September 2009, the start of the Tour de France on the Mediterranean island of Corsica is looking more and more likely. In fact, a significant step was made on December 16 and 17, when the regional assembly of the French département, the Assemblée de Corse, voted on its 2011 budget, including the payment of two million Euro to Tour de France organiser ASO for the hosting of the Grand Départ.
For the 110th edition of the race, ASO has been busy planning the first-time inclusion of the island in the event for a while, with its traditional Critérium International race acting as a first test of the region's cycling race capacities. The Critérium International, usually held in Northern France, moved to Corsica this year and is set to remain there for the next three years.
In the bill voted unanimously by the Corsica Assembly, there are even more details of the 2013 Tour de France start: "According to the letter received on June 28 by the director of the Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme, the Grand Départ of the 100th edition race will be organised in Corsica, which will moreover host three mass start stages (Saturday, Sunday, Monday) permitting to showcase the main towns of the island, Ajaccio, Bastia, Calvi and Porto-Vecchio, but also the many inland villages."
Preliminary planning does therefore not include a prologue for the 2013 edition, and foresees a transfer of the race to mainland France after three days of racing. Contacted by Cyclingnews, ASO press officer Mathieu Desplats neither denied nor confirmed the 2013 Tour start in Corsica, remaining true to the organisation's prerogative of announcing their route themselves in due time.