Prudhomme hopes to lure Evenepoel to 2024 Tour de France with Nice time trial

 Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep)
Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep)

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has expressed hope that Remco Evenepoel will make his debut at the 2024 edition of the race, which will finish with a hilly individual time trial between Monaco and Nice.

Evenepoel has opted to race the Giro d’Italia this year, seemingly attracted by its markedly higher portion of time trial kilometres, but the early indications are that the 2024 Tour route might be more to his liking.

This year’s Tour features just 22km of time trialling in total, a number already exceeded by the 35km test planned for the final stage in 2024, which will bring riders over La Turbie and the Col d’Èze ahead of the drop into Nice.

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As well as finishing outside of the Paris area for the first time in its history, it means the Tour will conclude with a time trial for the first time since Greg LeMond so dramatically divested Laurent Fignon of yellow in 1989.

Prudhomme also pointed out that the stage will take place on Belgium’s national holiday, July 21, and that, at 24, Evenepoel will be the same age as Eddy Merckx when he rode – and won – his debut Tour in 1969.

“We would obviously be happy if Remco Evenepoel was at the start of the Tour in Florence next year,” Prudhomme told Het Nieuwsblad. “The Tour with Remco at the start would have even more flavour. And I also remind you that next year, the current world champion will be the same age as Merckx was in 1969. Eddy was 24 years old too… We really hope he’ll be at the start in Florence. We would be very happy. We’re waiting for him.”

The 2024 Tour will finish in Nice on July 21 due to the logistical demands of the Olympic Games, which get underway in Paris five days later. The details of the final two stages of the race were unveiled at a presentation in Nice on Monday.

The penultimate stage will be a short but demanding leg in the hinterland of Nice, with the Col de Braus, Col de Turini and Col de La Colmiane preceding a summit finish on the Col de la Couillole, which featured as a finale at Paris-Nice last weekend. The 132km stage includes some 4,400m of total climbing.

“We had another big city that was aiming for the finish of the Tour, but we simply have an historical connection with Nice,” said Prudhomme. “We had the start of the Tour there in 2020, but due to the pandemic, it was held without many spectators. Now the Côte d'Azur will have a unique event in the history of the Tour.”