The Tour de France could be headed for its northernmost grand depart in its history with Copenhagen formally expressing its interest in hosting the French grand tour between 2019-2021. The Danish capital previously hosted the Giro d'Italia grande partenza in 2012 and the 2011 World Championships.
The Mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen, and the Danish Minister for Trade and growth, Troels Lund Poulsen, were on hand at a press conference in Danish House on the Champs Elysées with Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme to hand over its application for a grand depart.
Should the capital city be successful, there would be three days of racing, starting with a 10km time trial and two days for the sprinters with stage finishes in Odense and Sønderborg.
"We are proud to receive Copenhagen's official candidature, which underlines the attraction that the Tour can have outside of France," said Prudhomme who was also also invited to Copenhagen by the Prime Minister on behalf of the delegates. "Showcasing the Tour abroad is to also showcase France. Of course, it would be a huge challenge because it would be the northernmost start in the Tour's history."
The 2014 Leeds Grand Depart is the furthest north the Tour de France has started in its 102 previous editions.
For Jensen, the mayor since 2010, the bid would be a celebration of the bicycle and further cement the status of Copenhagen as a cycling city.
"Copenhagen is known around the world as a cycling city and the Tour is one of the most liked sporting events among Danes. This would be a unique opportunity to show off our country and to encourage the rest of the world to take up cycling," said Jensen.
Poulsen added the bid would help to demonstrate the importance of the bicycle in Danish daily life, while showcasing it's countryside to an international audience.
"Denmark has a lot to offer the Tour de France. This is a cycling nation and we could show how cycling plays a major role in our daily lives. The stages we have planned will also offer a sumptuous backdrop for the peloton and television viewers, between historic cities and emblematic landmarks."
Previous capital cities to have hosted the Tour's grand depart are Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin, Luxembourg, London, and Paris. The 2017 Tour de France will start in Düsseldorf, its first German grand depart since West Berlin in 1987.