Le tour de France is one of the three biggest cycling events in the world. It takes place mostly in France, but starts at a different city every year. This year the grand départ came back to Holland for the sixth time; a record! Utrecht was the elected city to host the event. How did the city of Utrecht get this event to take place in their city and how can you prepare for an event this big? I went to a press presentation where I got all these questions answered.
It wasn’t easy to get the event to take place in Utrecht. It took the city 13 years; from the first idea written on a beer coaster to the actual event the beginning of July 2015. With a few setbacks, it wasn’t until a few years back it became clear Utrecht would be the host of the grand départ 2015. It wasn’t a coincidence that they chose the year 2015. It’s the perfect year to do this: there are no Olympics, World or European Championships. Everyone is focused on the tour as the biggest sport event of the year. It makes for maximum publicity.
100 days of festivities
To get most out of the event Utrecht decided to expand the festivities from 3 to 100 days. Because, why not? All kinds of smaller events are organised that are in line with the cycling event. Think of sport days with primary schools and local cycle contests.
Doing it together
The scale of this event is enormous. Beforehand they expected 300,000 people, newspapers reported after the event that 350,000 people came to watch the grand départ. That’s a lot for a small city that is only used to events, for example King’s day, with 100,000 visitors. Together with local business owners, inhabitants and volunteers the city of Utrecht organised the event. Every little detail is taken care of: from enough water taps to garbage disposal to age bracelets to prevent underage drinking.