The Depart was planned on the 27th of June, but has been postponed to August the 29th because of the COVID-19 crisis. The situation during the summer will decide whether or not the Tour will take place this year. The information given here is therefore under condition.
A few milestones in the history of Nice in the Tour de France.
- 1906 René Pottier won the first stage to finish in Nice. The stage was 345km long and the departure was in Grenoble. He was also the final winner of the 1906 Tour de France
- 1947 René Vietto gets the yellow jersey in Nice, after a stage won by Camellini. Jean Robic wins this first edition of the Tour after WWII.
- 1950 Same double for Ferdi Kübler who wins the stage in Nice and will win the Tour in Paris.
The Nice > Gap stage is won by Raphaël Geminiani.
- 1973 Lopez Carril wins the Embrun > Nice stage, Luis Ocana wearing the yellow jersey.
The next day, Wright wins the Nice > Aubagne stage. Luis Ocana still wears the yellow Jersey and will win the Tour.
- 1975 In a stage starting in Nice, Bernard Thévenet wins in Pra-Loup, taking at the same time the yellow jersey from Eddy Merckx's back. He won the first of his 2 Tours this year.
- 1981 Bernard Hinault, world champion, won the prologue in Nice and exchanged his rainbow jersey for the yellow one. He was on his way to the 3rd of his 5 Tour victories.
The next day, Freddy Maertens wins the sprint on the Promenade des Anglais after the first half stage. The second half stage is a team time trial Nice - Antibes - Nice, won by the Ti-Raleigh team. Gerry Knetemann gets the yellow jersey at the end of the day.
The next day, Nice > Martigues is won by Van der Velde and Knetemann keeps the yellow jersey.
- 2013 The Tour had just landed from Corsica after three stages there. Orica Greenedge won the team time trial in Nice.
It'll be the 37th time that Nice will welcome the Tour de France. It'll be the 2nd Grand Départ after 1981.
Thursday August the 27th : presentation of the teams, place Masséna. (This event might be cancelled, even if the race takes place.)
The Tour will start with 2 stages from Nice to Nice on the 29th and the 30th of August.
On the 31st, the third stage will also depart in Nice, in the Stadium, and the race will then join Sisteron after 198km.
The "Etape du Tour", open to cyclists who want to compare themselves with the champions will be organized in the beginning of July 2021. Participants will follow the exact itinerary of the second stage of the race (minus the final loop), on protected roads, with no car traffic. 177km, with an elevation gain of 3570m. More than 15,000 people are expected to take part. First postponed to the 6th of September it was eventually delayed until next year. It will use the 2020 itinerary.
There will probably be less people to watch the race at the end of August than there would have been at the end of June. But if you want to come and watch it, monitor the availability of rooms and the prices, too.
It is likely that most hotels and other accomodation providers will take advantage of the situation and that prices will be very high.
Nice - Moyen pays - Nice
This stage (170km) will include 3 loops, with a departure and a finish line in Nice, on the 29th of August. If you choose your place well, you will see the racers 3 times.
- The first loop (50km) will be ridden 2 times. Riders will reach Aspremont via the boulevard de Carabacel, the boulevard of Cimiez, l'Aire St Michel and eventually the route de Nice. From Aspremont, the race will go down to the M6202 via Castagniers. They will cross the river on the Manda bridge to ride the M6202 bis. Back to Nice, then. Promenade des Anglais, port and the loop starts again from the boulevard Carabacel. The loop includes more than 600m of elevation.
- The last loop (70km) will be similar to the first two loops until Aspremont. But there the riders, instead of going down to Castagniers, will turn right towards Tourrette-Levens. Then towards Levens and down again towards the Var river via la Roquette sur Var and St Martrin du Var. Total elevation around 900m. The final 25km section, almost completely flat, should enable sprinters who managed to get along with the climbs to give a final explanation on the Promenade des Anglais to win the stage and the first yellow jersey.
Therefore from the Bvd Carabacel until Aspremont you will see the race 3 times. Same thing on the M6202 bis, Bvd des Alpes in Nice and along the Promenade des Anglais.
You will see it 2 times if you are Quai des Etats Unis or on the Castle hill side of the port, or between Aspremont and the M6202.
You will see it one time only between the departure line (Albert 1er garden) and the Tête au carré.
Where to go to see the race ?
Choose to be between the boulevard of Cimiez and Aspremont to see the race climbing 3 times. One of the steepest parts is just before the Arenes de Cimiez, along the garden to the Queen Victoria, at the top of the boulevard of Cimiez and just before the crossraod with the avenue des Arènes de Cimiez. It's not very long, around 150m.
Other possibility, the climb avenue de Rimiez, 1.5km after the St George hospital, especially 500m after the hairpin bend.
Last "steep" part on the road to Aspremont, just after the descent from the Aire St Michel, after the crossroad between avenue de Gairaut and avenue Jules Romain. It is only a few hundred meters long. The road to Aspremont, is then less steep, but offers great panoramic views on the sea and the baous while you'll be waiting for the race.
If you want to go to Aspremont that day to see the race, 3 out of the 4 accesses to the village will be closed owing to the race (Nice, Castagniers, Tourette-Levens). The only way to go there if you don't do it early enough will be to go through Colomars.
Nice - Haut Pays - Nice
Second stage with a departure and a finish lines in Nice, on August the 30th. 191km this time and more than 3600m of elevation.
Same departure line as the day before. Heading towards la Promenade des Anglais. The race will backtrack the itinerary of the previous day in the Var river valley, until the Manda Bridge. Then the race will go on towards the Carros industrial zone. Then the gorge of Chaudan and the Tinée valley. La Colmiane, first pass (1500m, 16,3km at 6%) before going down towards the Vésubie river, which the race will follow until la Bollène Vésubie. Up again towards the Turini pass (1600m, 15km at 7%), Then back to Nice via Peira Cava and l'Escarène.
In Nice, along the Paillon river, and up again on the Grande Corniche until the Col d'Eze (500m, 7,8km at 7%). Down towards the Moyenne Corniche and Eze village via the Tennis road, and then the port of Nice and the Quai des Etats Unis. First crossing of the finish line before going again to the Grande Corniche until the col des 4 chemins. There, down to the Moyenne Corniche, the port and the finish line. On the second time the Col des 4 chemins will be climbed, 8, 5 and 2 seconds bonuses will be awarded to the three first racers.
Where to go to see the race?
Apart from the 2 main passes (Colmiane and Turini), a good place to see the race is on the beginning of the Grande Corniche, (Boulevard Bischoffsheim). There, the slope is steep, and you will see the race two times. Walk up the road on 1 or 2 kilometers to enjoy the beautiful view on Nice while you wait for the race. It's probably there that the fate of the stage and the yellow jersey will be decided.
Nice > Sisteron
The departure of the 3rd stage will take place in the football Stadium, in Nice, on August the 31st.
The exact itinerary is not known yet, but the race will go to Grasse, first, and then join Sisteron via the Napoleon Road. 198km of a "flat" stage, say the organizers. Actually, it is flatter in the end and this stage should be won by a sprinter if a breakaway does not succeed in keeping the pack at a distance.
Note that the Nice football team (OGC Nice) was just bought in 2019 by Ineos, the sponsor of the best cycling team which won the last Tours de France with Bernal, Wiggins, Thomas and Froome. And the stadium where the departure will take place is precisely the stadium where this team plays at home.