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July is traditionally the best month of the year for cycling enthusiasts, particularly because this is when the annual Tour de France is held. And next year, as the Tour de France 2015 starts in Netherlands, fans of the famous race can combine a fun holiday in Holland with a taste of live sporting action!
First stage: time trial through the streets of Utrecht
2015 will not be the first year that a Tour de France stage has started in the Netherlands – indeed, the small nation has enjoyed that special honour in 1954 (Amsterdam), 1973 (Scheveningen), 1978 (Leiden), 1996 (‘s-Hertogenbosch) and 2010 (Rotterdam). The 2015 Grand Départ of the Tour de France in the Netherlands will kick-off with a time trial that winds through the streets of Utrecht. On 4th July 2015, the riders will begin their individual time trial near the Jaarbeurs, covering a distance of some 13.7 kilometres via Balijelaan, Venuslaan, de Weg tot de Wetenschap, de Archimedeslaan, de Waterlinieweg, de Biltstraat and de Maliesingel.
Second stage: finish at Neeltje Jans
The second stage of the 2015 Tour de France will also start in Utrecht, with the riders cycling under the Dom and then via Rotterdam towards the province of Zeeland. Although it’s a predominantly flat landscape of typical Dutch polders, the cyclists won’t have an easy ride, for they’ll also be up against the formidable “Dutch mountain” – the notorious Zeeland wind. The stage will finish on 5th July at the Neeltje Jans – part of the famous Delta Works where an information centre and amusement park is now also located. The province of Zeeland is hoping that the second stage of the celebrated Tour de France will attract in excess of 500,000 spectators – if you plan to attend then why not make a day of it by enjoying a picnic basket crammed with delicious Dutch products as you cheer along your favourite cyclists from the side lines?
Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then why not visit our sister blog, Heimwee.info, specifically intended for Dutch emigrants abroad?