Marseille will enjoy being in the limelight as the Tour de France 2017 nears its end
Cycling fans will have been glued to their television screens for the best part of the last three weeks, watching the dramatic events of this year’s Tour de France unfold. It has been the tightest race for many years, with the top three riders in the General Classification (the Yellow Jersey competition) separated by only 29 seconds before the Time Trial takes place. Competition for the other jerseys has been very close too, leading to exciting racing on almost every stage.
The penultimate stage of this year’s Tour is a 22.5 kilometre time trial in the city of Marseille. In a time trial the riders set off at 2 minute intervals in reverse order depending on their position in the General Classification, so the last rider to set off will be the UK’s Chris Froome at 17.04 hrs. From the start at the Orange Veledrome the riders will head towards the coast and the route takes them along the seafront for a while and then to the Vieux Port. The Old Port lies at the end of the Canebière, the city’s main shopping street. This attractive area is a focus for tourists, being the area which contains many of the city’s best restaurants. The route also takes in a steep climb to the church of Notre Dame de la Garde and then the Palais du Pharo. One of the most scenic points on the coast road is the Corniche President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The time trial ends in the impressive velodrome where the atmosphere will be electric.
The television coverage of the Tour today will ensure that this often overlooked city is given some much needed publicity as it is felt by many to be a very attractive city in a wonderful scenic location. Capital of the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur region, Marseille is the second largest city in France in terms of population. It’s a busy, vibrant city with plenty going on at any time of year and it will certainly be buzzing today! For those interested in culture, the 17th Century Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde, the 12th Century Abbey of Saint-Victor and the Palais du Pharo (19th century) are well worth a visit. The city has 17 museums including a Museum of Natural History and a Motorcycle Museum. Marseille is also an important sporting centre and it holds the title of European Capital of Sport 2017.
It’s a big day for Marseille – perhaps all the publicity given to the city today will encourage plenty of people to consider visiting it in the coming months and years.