Video: Rotterdam, The Hague announce bid to host Tour de France start
The Zuid-Holland cities of Rotterdam and The Hague have teamed up in a bid to bring the Tour de France back to the Netherlands for the seventh time in the race's history. The second and third largest cities in the Netherlands want to host the Grand Départ in either 2024 or 2025.
"The goal is to have the prologue take place in Rotterdam, followed by a stage with a start in Rotterdam and arrival in The Hague," the cities said in a joint statement. The statement was released along with a video from Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb and The Hague Mayor Jan van Zanen.
"Rotterdam. The Hague. Our cities. We are different but still we look like each other," the mayors say. "Two friends who have known each other for a very long time and are still growing closer to one another."
They continue: "We are joining forces to bring the Grand Départ to the Netherlands."
The opening stages of the race were last held in the country in 2015 which kicked off with a time trial stage in Utrecht, followed by a stage from Utrecht to Zeeland before moving on to Belgium and then France.
If awarded the race, it will be the second Grand Départ in Rotterdam, with the world's elite cyclists starting the 2010 Tour there. It drew about a million visitors to Rotterdam for the race weekend.
"The images of Rotterdam then went all over the world and reached 17 million TV viewers. The economic impact of the event was 30 million euros," the city said.
The Hague also hosted the launch of the 1973 Tour de France, which kicked off along Scheveningen.
Next month, the bid will be officially submitted to the ASO, which organizes the Tour de France.