Holland and the Tour de France
The Grand Depart of the Tour de France 2015 in Utrecht will be the sixth start in Holland, a record for any country outside France. It was in fact Holland that had the first ever foreign start of the Tour de France. It was in Amsterdam, the nation’s capital city, in 1954, followed by Scheveningen (1973), Leiden (1978), ‘s-Hertogenbosch (1996) and Rotterdam (2010).
Utrecht will be the ninth Dutch city to host the stages of the Tour de France. Besides the Dutch Grand Depart cities, the Tour has also gone through Maastricht in 1969, Sint Willebord in 1978 and Valkenburg in 1992 and 2006.
The Tour de France 2015 will start on Saturday July 4 with an individual time-trial of 13.7 kilometres. The riders will follow a flat course straight through the city; from west to east and back.
The starting stage will be installed in front of the Jaarbeurs Utrecht, which is also the location of the press center. The cyclist will then head towards Galgenwaard stadium, where professional football club FC Utrecht plays its home matches. From there they will go to Utrecht Science Park and Utrecht University, and then bend to the west. Going through the historic center and the Maliesingel, past the Railway Museum, they will finally finish at Utrecht Central Station (Jaarbeursplein).
The start signal of the second stage on Sunday July 5 will again be given in front of Jaarbeurs Utrecht. The peloton will then ride through the streets of the city’s historic center, along the canals and underneath the Dom Toren. Then they will reach the Maliebaan, with the house in which the first Dutch cycling association, the Nederlandsche Velocipedisten-Bond, was founded in 1883.
The actual start point of the second stage is located on the ‘t Goylaan, from where the route loops to the north of the city. After twenty kilometres through Leidsche Rijn, the new residential area on the west-side of the city, the Tour will head towards Neeltje Jans, Zeeland.
Programme Grand Depart
Wednesday July 1, 2015
Opening of the press center in Jaarbeurs Utrecht.
Thursday July 2, 2015
Presentation of the teams of the Tour de France 2015 in Park Lepelenburg.
Saturday July 3, 2015
First Stage: Individual time-trial of 13.7 kilometres.
Sunday July 5, 2015
Start of the second stage.
Holland: bicycle country
With over 17,000 kilometres of cycling lanes and 4,500 kilometres of national cycling route, Holland is definitely a cycling country. With Utrecht as its athletic beating heart.
- With 19 million usable bikes, Holland has the highest bicycle density of the world.
- 84% of the Dutch own one bicycle or more.
- Every Dutch primary school pupil takes an exam to get his or her cycling diploma.
- Yearly, the Dutch cycle over 15 billion kilometres.
- Holland has a unique ‘National Bicycle Plan’ meaning the tax office pays 52% of the price of a bicycle.