‘There is a lot of excitement’: Tour de France comes to Denmark

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Cycle paths person been painted yellow, knitting enthusiasts person made a elephantine yellowish jersey, and preparations are being made for a flotilla of boats flying yellowish flags. The “big yellowish party” comes to Denmark connected 1 July erstwhile the state wide regarded arsenic the champion successful the satellite for cyclists hosts the opening signifier of the world’s top cycling race.

The Tour de France was primitively slated to commencement successful Copenhagen successful 2021, but was transferred to Brest successful effect to a Covid-related scheduling struggle with the European Championships.

Postponing the Grand Départ Copenhagen by a twelvemonth has been welcomed arsenic allowing much clip for readying and now, station Covid lockdowns, organisers are hoping their concern of 150m Danish krone (about £17.3m) volition boost tourism.

“There is simply a batch of excitement successful the city,” said Sophie Hæstorp Andersen, a cycling instrumentality and lord politician of Copenhagen, wherever a immense timepiece successful the city’s main quadrate is counting down to 1 July. “We’re gearing up for a large yellowish enactment wherever everyone’s invited,” said Andersen.

King Christian X’s span  successful  Soenderborg, Denmark, covered with yellowish  cloth  up  of the commencement  of the 2022 Tour de France cycling race.
King Christian X’s span successful Soenderborg covered with yellowish cloth earlier the commencement of the 2022 Tour de France cycling race. Photograph: Claus Fisker/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/Getty Images

Denmark’s estimation arsenic a cycling nirvana is well-earned. There are astir 7,500 miles of motorcycle routes and motorcycle lanes crossed the state and fractional of each Copenhageners commute by bike.

Cycling enthusiasts successful Copenhagen tin effort retired the Tour de France way themselves connected 2 July, erstwhile the professionals acceptable disconnected for signifier 2 from Roskilde Cathedral, wherever the Viking king Harald Bluetooth is said to beryllium buried. After a windswept sprint crossed the Great Belt Bridge, the way finishes successful Nyborg connected the land of Funen.

The 3rd and past Danish signifier connected 3 July starts successful the metropolis of Vejle – known arsenic The Kingdom of Cycling acknowledgment to its Alpine-grade ascents shaped by the crystal property successful an different remarkably level country.

The Grand Depart Trophy of the Tour de France cycling contention    and antithetic  jerseys are connected  show  astatine  an accumulation  wrong  the Danish Industry Building successful  Copenhagen, Denmark
The Grand Départ Trophy and jerseys connected show astatine an accumulation wrong the Danish Industry Building successful Copenhage. Photograph: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/Getty Images

The way volition instrumentality successful Vejle’s harbour, with buildings designed by the creator Olafur Eliasson, arsenic good arsenic the Unesco satellite practice tract astatine Jelling, wherever Bluetooth raised the Jelling Stone successful 965 CE, marking the unification of Denmark arsenic a Christian nation. Cyclists volition walk done Kolding, celebrated for its 750-year-old royal fortress Koldinghus, arsenic good arsenic different Unesco satellite practice tract astatine Christiansfeld earlier finishing 113 miles aboriginal successful Sønderborg.

A full of 5,000 volunteers volition beryllium progressive successful keeping the festivities going countrywide, but Vejle municipality has taken an absorbing attack to gathering engagement. “We wanted the assemblage to consciousness ownership of the lawsuit alternatively of conscionable commissioning projects,” said organiser Jacob Rasmussen, “so we acceptable up a 3m Danish krone assistance money for innovative projects that observe cycling”.

Tour de France Vejle is headed up by an unassuming antheral successful shorts named Lars Ulrich – a physiotherapist and motorcycle enthusiast who has spent his full beingness explaining that helium is not the drummer from Metallica.

Ulrich was tasked with getting non-cyclists excited astir the race. “I thought, ‘how tin I marque this an historical event? How tin I get it to beryllium remembered for thing different than choky Lycra pants?’ Covid separated america for truthful agelong that Tour de France is an accidental to travel unneurotic – I privation everyone involved.”

Residents of section  hospices and attraction   homes utilized  9,000 balls of wool to knit a elephantine  600kg yellowish  jersey to beryllium  raised up   astatine  the harbour.
Residents of section hospices and attraction homes knitted a elephantine yellowish jersey to beryllium raised up astatine the harbour.

Alex Slot Hansen, an worker astatine Sydbank, invested successful 9,000 balls of wool for the residents of section hospices and attraction homes to knit a elephantine 600kg yellowish jersey to beryllium raised up astatine the harbour. “I had a batch of messages from carers who accidental it’s been therapeutic for hospice patients successful particular,” said Hansen.

Morten Teilmann-Jørgensen from the Viking Kings acquisition centre came up with “the Viking Biking Escape Box”. “You get successful a container connected a stationary motorcycle and you spot yourself connected a screen,” said Teilmann-Jørgensen. “There are virtual ‘Vikings’ down you, and erstwhile you commencement cycling, they commencement chasing.”

The Viking Escape Box
The Viking Escape Box Photograph: Handout

Restaurateurs and retailers are bracing themselves for the metropolis to treble successful size, with 100,000 visitors from astir the satellite expected. Ulrich and his squad person been emphasising the value of hospitality to section businesses and however to beryllium a bully big – thing that doesn’t needfully travel people successful a state not famed for its work culture.

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Maria Theresa Olsen from Bryg java location successful Vejle hopes to confound expectations. “I’m trying to think, ‘if I were a tourer what would I want?’ and ‘how tin I springiness a bully content of this municipality I’m arrogant to telephone home?’’ she said.

“The eyes of the satellite volition beryllium connected us, truthful we privation to springiness arsenic bully arsenic acquisition arsenic we can.”

The 1 constituent of the acquisition nary 1 tin program for is the upwind and Denmark’s unpredictable summers marque counting connected sunshine futile. “I’m checking the forecast regular and crossing my fingers,’ said Hæstorp Andersen, “but it’ll beryllium what it’ll be”.

Ulrich takes a much upbeat approach: ‘It’s similar we ever accidental successful Denmark: ‘There’s nary specified happening arsenic atrocious upwind – conscionable the incorrect clothes’.’