The opening stage of the 2023 Vuelta a España.

The 2026 Tour de France will start in Barcelona

2026 will be a big year for Barcelona.

Dane Cash
by Dane Cash 18.06.2024 Photography by
Cor Vos
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The Amaury Sports Organization announced on Tuesday that the Tour de France will roll out from Barcelona in 2026, which also happens to be the year that perhaps the most famous landmark in the Catalan capital, the unfinished Sagrada Familia, is expected to be completed more than a century after construction began.

As the race organizer pointed out in its press release announcing the news, Barcelona will be the farthest south that the Tour has ever gotten underway, narrowly edging out the 2013 Grand Départ from Porto-Vecchio in Corsica. After the opening stage of the 2026 Tour, the race will feature another stage entirely within Catalonia before a third stage will take the peloton from Catalonia into France, whose southwestern corner shares a border with the region.

Those three stages will run from July 4 through July 6 of 2026.

The Tour has visited Barcelona in the past for stages further into the race, but never for the opening day of the race. There have been seven stages that have either started or finished in Barcelona, most recently in 2009, when the Tour featured a stage from Girona to Barcelona (where Thor Hushovd took a sprint win) and then from Barcelona to Andorra.

Catalonia, of course, has a strong cycling tradition beyond the Tour as well, as the home of the Volta a Catalunya – where Tour favorite Tadej Pogačar of UAE Team Emirates took the overall title this year – and as a very frequent host of stages at the Vuelta a España, which started in Barcelona in 2023.

For the Tour de France, the Barcelona Grand Départ will mark a return to Spain three years after the 2023 Bilbao start, which was one of three straight Tours to open beyond French borders; the 2022 Tour started in Copenhagen, and this year’s race will roll out from Florence in less than two weeks’ time on June 29, while the 2025 Grand Départ in Lille will be be the first domestic start since 2021, in Brittany.

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