An open letter to Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France:
Congratulations on another successful Tour de France. The 97th edition of the Tour was an exceptionally exciting and dramatic race to follow this year.
Over the course of its history the Tour de France has visited more than 10 countries. I would like to propose to you that the time has arrived for the Tour to visit North America.
This would electrify the American sporting world, and would undoubtedly be a major marketing coup for Tour organizers. People would come from all over North America for the chance to witness in person the greatest race in all of sport. In fact, I would argue, a visit to the continent would be bigger than the Lance Armstrong era.
Bringing the Tour de France to North America in early July would come during a void in the American sporting calendar. The NBA and NHL Finals are already completed, and there would still be several days before Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game is played. The Tour would be front and center stage in the sporting world for those few days.
With a nod to France’s special relationship with French Canada, I propose that the Tour spend two days in Quebec Province, and then one day in the United States. Here’s a suggested schedule:
Sat: Prologue in Quebec City
Sun: Stage 1 Quebec to Montreal (shuttle to Albany, NY afterwards)
Mon: Stage 2 Albany to New York City, with a finish in Central Park
Tue: Rest day – fly back to France.
I would also argue that there would be no better time to do this than during the Tour’s 100th edition of the race. What better way of treating this special anniversary than by doing something bold and completely different?
With the permanent retirement of Lance Armstrong after this year, American cycling will need a shot in the arm. Look what happened to ratings on the Versus Channel during his retirement years. The Tour cannot afford to allow American cycling to go backwards at this junction.
Just as Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong have done in the past, a visit to North America by the Tour de France would inspire a new generation of cyclists and cycling fans, and provide the Tour with a greater fan base.