The Tour de France, the foremost and most prestigious bicycle race in the world, has been spreading its wings to include an international flair over the past few years.
Next year will see the Grand Départ – the official opening and start of the race – kicking off in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark.
It marks the second time that the start of this famous race has taken place outside of France.
Previously, San Sebastián in the Basque Country hosted the Grand Départ in 1992.
The 1992 Tour de France also marked the year that Miguel Induráin started wearing the sought-after yellow jersey.
On January 26, 2021, the event organizers announced that Spain’s Basque Country would once again host a Grand Départ, this time from the city of Bilbao.
Race director Christian Prudhomme described this Grand Départ as a “grand wish” during the announcement.
“Ever since the Tour de France hit the roads in San Sebastián in the summer of 1992, the authorities and elected representatives of the Basque Country have longed to host the Grande Boucle again.”
The president of the Basque government, Íñigo Urkullu, echoed this sentiment when he described the region’s long-established passion for cycling.
Urkullu said they enthusiastically welcome the 110th Tour de France and will endeavor to be a perfect host for this momentous occasion.
He described how this event would attract fans through the villages and towns of the Basque Country.
The tour organizers explained that the first three stages of the race would start and finish in Bilbao, with the first stage spanning a grueling 185 kilometers.
The second stage of the 2023 race will cover the roads between Vitoria-Gasteiz and San Sebastián, and the third stage will start in Amorebieta-Etxano and lead back to Bilbao.