Le Tour de France en bonne voie pour effectuer son grand retour au sommet du puy de Dôme ! 

The Tour de France is on track to make its comeback at the top of the Puy de Dôme!

The anecdote is known and he rarely misses an opportunity to tell it. When he arrived at ASO (Amaury Sport Organisation) in January 2004, Christian Prudhomme typed his first four words on his computer. A kind of roadmap attached to an ultimate dream: “Objective puy de Dôme”. Almost 20 years later, this dream, and that of so many Tour de France lovers, has never seemed so close to coming true. Yes, the Tour de France is again likely to return to the ramps of the volcano that helped build its legend. And reciprocally.

The emotion of the Prudhomme – Wauquiez – Chauvin trio

Laurent Wauquiez, president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Lionel Chauvin, president of the departmental council, and therefore the boss of the Tour Christian Prudhomme had thus made an appointment at the top of the puy de Dôme, this Friday morning. A summit meeting – in every sense of the word – at which The mountain was able to attend exclusively and which aimed to mark a historic stage: that of the concrete study of the return of the Grande Boucle to the most visited site in Auvergne. Just that !

“The dream is getting bigger today,” said Christian Prudhomme, as moved as the two elected officials present next to him. “Yes, there is a lot of emotion for us, because it’s a dream we’ve had in our heads for years. The Puy de Dôme is a myth, our Auvergne emblem and I always thought it was a mistake to deprive yourself of the potential to come here”, recalled Laurent Wauquiez, before Lionel Chauvin also mentioned his “pride” and the “thrill” that was his at the idea of ​​”moving together towards the same goal”.

Because it is an understatement to say that this prospect, so often hoped for by cycling enthusiasts, has long seemed like wishful thinking. After having written some of its most beautiful pages, the Grande Boucle has indeed closed the “puy de Dôme” chapter for a long time. 34 years already that the common history, written in golden letters by the biggest names in cycling over 13 stages between 1952 and 1988, culminating in the ultimate duel between Jacques Anquetil and Raymond Poulidor in 1964, has been stored in the keepsake cabinet.

“This corresponds to our desire to give the mountains back to the champions, as we have shown in recent years by going to classified sites or sites that are difficult to access”

Christian Prudhomme

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The fault, first of all, with a climb less and less adapted to the scope that the Tour took on at the turn of the 80s. followers and supporters, the Giant of the domes had already reached its limits.

Dother obstacles came later to get in the way of the peloton: thea construction of a rack railway in 2012 which amputated part of the road; the site’s candidacy for Unesco, which required the site to be made sacred; and above all a departmental political reluctance partly linked to the world ranking of the Puy de Dôme.

Julio Jiménez, winner of the mythical stage of the Tour de France at the top of the Puy de Dôme in 1964, has died

Today, these obstacles are no longer prohibitive… provided that a suitable plan and a light system are designed to preserve the site while allowing the race to take place. “This corresponds to our desire to give back the mountains to the champions, as we have shown in recent years by going to classified sites or sites that are difficult to access”, recalled Christian Prudhomme.

Regarding the Puy de Dôme, the stakeholders gathered this Friday did not want to advance on the possible options, especially since the coming months will allow the logistical question to be really refined. In any case, it is hard to imagine the public being able to settle down along the last four kilometers of the ascent…

What horizon? 2023, 2024, … There too, it is too early to say, but the date of July 12, 2024, 60 years to the day after the most iconic duel in the history of cycling between Jacques Anquetil and Raymond Poulidor, does not lack interest. And when you know Christian Prudhomme’s love for birthdays and round accounts, it’s hard not to see the most beautiful symbol for what would then be the most beautiful return.

Frederic Verna


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