Denmark confirmed for start of 2021 Tour de France

Copenhagen will host the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in 2021, with race organisers ASO confirming on Thursday that the first three stages of the Tour de France will be held in Denmark, sparking the race's northernmost start.

The 2019 Tour de France will start in Brussels, Belgium, with the 2020 race starting in Nice, France. 

Christian Prudhomme, the director of the Tour de France, suggested the race can learn from Copenhagen and its many urban cyclists.

"The energy that supporters and curious locals will channel to riders, followers and viewers of the Tour will most assuredly be a great source of inspiration to succeed in our greatest challenge: seeing the future on a bike."

The 2021 Tour de France will begin on Friday, July 2, with a 13km individual time trial "through the heart of the Danish capital. Stage 2 will run 196km from Roskilde to Nyborg, including a crossing on the 18km long Great Belt Bridge, which connects the islands of Zealand and Funen. The third stage is 170km from Vejle to Sønderborg.

Stages 2 and 3 will both feature the flat, open Danish landscape, with crosswinds likely to affect action. A mass sprint is expected on both road race stages. 

The riders will enjoy an extra rest day on Monday July 5 as the Tour de France transfers to France for the remaining stages.

"A generation of riders such as Michael Valgren, Soren Kragh Anderson, Mads Pedersen and Magnus Cort Nielsen will fight for their chance on home turf," ASO pointed out during the official presentation in Copenhagen on Thursday.

Confirmation of the Danish Grand Depart first emerged on Wednesday when Denmark's financial minister Kristian Jensen posted on Twitter about the news. Prudhomme was forced to confirm the news before travelling to the Danish city.

Denmark will be the tenth country to host the start of the Tour. Copenhagen has hosted the World Championships six times.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen called his land "one of the greatest cycling nations in the world, so to be able to welcome the best bike riders in the world and host the world's most iconic cycling race is an honour and a privilege."

Franck Jensen, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, added, "The best cycling city in the world welcomes the greatest cycling race in the world. We will use this unique opportunity to celebrate the Tour de France and our unique bicycle culture with the rest of the world."

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