On Friday, after a year’s postponement, Denmark welcomed the first stages of the 2022 Tour de France, now sadly in the shadow of a shopping mall shooting. From Copenhagen, the competitors have wound through Fyn and Jutland, transferring today towards the French stages…
The former US envoy to Denmark was ridiculed when she claimed Danes (including the royal family) bicycled to work because they “couldn’t afford a car”. But it’s true that 44 per cent of Danish families don’t have a car, and opt instead for the bicycle as a greener and more practical way to get around town. Perhaps it’s surprising, then, that the world’s most famous cycle race has never started in this capital of bicycles. The race has been to The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, the UK, Ireland and Monaco… but never to Denmark.
Until now. That changes this year, in a coronavirus pushback. On 1st July, the Tour had its ‘Grand Départ’ in Copenhagen, with a further two stages in the Danish countryside: from Roskilde to to Nyborg, and from Vejle to Sønderborg. Today is a rest day, and from tomorrow it’ll be back to the usual French windings, finishing with the traditional laps of the Arc de Triomphe on 24th July. This is the Tour’s first visit to Scandinavia, and its head, Christian Proudhomme, has made several visits to the country in its run up, inaugurating new cycle routes and initiating the peloton trophy procession in March.
UPDATE: The Danes got into the spirit so much, perhaps, that it spurred Jonas Vingegaard to win this year’s tour, crowned on the Champs-Élysées on 24th July.
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