Nice, the Tour de France and its great significance to GreenEDGE

Nice’s historic run at the Tour de France

This year marks the seventh occasion that the Tour de France will depart from the South of France, daringly close to the mountains, from the stunning Côte d’Azur city of Nice. Located right on the Mediterranean coastline, and nestled at the foot of the Alps – Nice la Belle ‘Nice the beautiful’ offers quite the spectacular backdrop and will excitingly once again play host to the world’s greatest bike race at the 2020 Grand Départ.

Nice has been a significant part of Tour de France history since as early as the fourth edition in 1906 where it was home to the finish following a gruelling 345km battle that started in Grenoble and saw René Pottier kick start a long running history of Tour de France victories there.

It has since, featured a prominent 37 times, three of which have been Grand Départ’s and its most recent being at the special 100th edition in 2013, where it held the Stage Four Team Time Trial.

Nice’s historic run at the Tour de France

A place of great significance for Orica-GreenEDGE 

Although each Tour de France return to Nice has been significant, the Team Time Trial at the 100th edition certainly created something special. The discipline itself; a unique, entertaining event to witness firsthand, topped by sensational crowds – lively atmosphere, and the idyllic coastal city setting. 

A day to remember for many – in particular the then fresh to the World Tour scene, Orica-GreenEDGE who claimed an emphatic, history-making victory in Nice, only a day following the Australian team’s first ever Tour de France win on Stage three with Simon Gerrans. Gerrans’ success, coming soon after the team hit headlines during Stage One in Corsica when the team bus dramatically got stuck under the finish banner. Their success to come, all the more welcomed, following the chaos and stress surrounding them to start.

The team, established only the year prior in 2012 stepped into the 2013 edition with a real vengeance to prove their position on the World Tour to sponsors, fans and themselves. Their achievements well and truly demonstrating their worth and kickstarting their continued rise to the top of the ranks, where they now stand as one of the most dominating professional teams on the pro circuit, as Mitchelton-SCOTT.

The monumental day for the team on July 2nd, 2013 saw them tackle a 25km flat circuit through Nice’s city centre. Lines of excited, passionate fans gathered the streets in cheer as the fastest professional cyclists united with their team mates in time trial format. Orica-GreenEDGE crossing the line, a mere 75 hundredths of a second ahead of Belgian squad, Omega Pharma-QuickStep in an unbelievable time of 25:56, holding an average speed of 57.54km/h over 25km. The average speed still stands in history as one of the fastest ever.

The victory came with double success for the team as not only did they secure their second consecutive Tour de France stage, but also moved into the prestigious Yellow Jersey, with Simon Gerrans.

Now they’d had their taste for the Maillot Jaune, and as their Tom Petty team theme song said, ‘they weren’t backing down’ easily. Their incredible stream of success, continuing on to see Gerrans hold the Yellow for an additional two stages, before passing it onto the shoulders of team mate, Daryl Impey. Impey, also making history as the first ever African to wear the Yellow jersey, in which he did so impressively for another two stages, tremendously supported by the team – high on Tour de France success.

Tour de France success

2013 Orica-GreenEDGE Tour de France team

  • Simon Gerrans
  • Daryl Impey
  • Stuart O’Grady
  • Matt Goss
  • Brett Lancaster
  • Cameron Meyer
  • Svein Tuft
  • Michael Albasini
  • Simon Clarke

 Words from the riders 

What it mean’t to win in Nice…

SIMON GERRANS – 

Simon Gerrans raced professionally from 2005-2018 and is highly regarded as being one of Australia’s most decorated cyclists. He raced for GreenEDGE since their initiation in 2012, right through to his penultimate year as a professional in 2017. Gerrans won multiple Tour de France stages (including two team time trial’s), as well as stages at the Giro d’Italia and La Vuelta. To top, he won the most gruelling of one day monuments; Milan-San Remo and Liège–Bastogne–Liège throughout his stellar pro career….

“When I look back on my cycling career, one of my fondest memories is our Team Time Trial victory in the 2013 Tour de France in Nice.
We were not on anyones radar as big favourites for the stage and our preparation for the stage was limited at best, so I don’t think there was a huge amount of expectation on the team. The fact that we were all so elated with the teams win on the stage prior and the yellow jersey was up for grabs, everyone in the team simply lifted for the occasion and put in a world class performance.
It is always a special feeling to win a race, however to win at the Tour de France alongside 8 great mates really elevated this win to another level.”
Image by Cor Vos
Image by Cor Vos

CAMERON MEYER –

Current Australian Road National champion, multiple World track champion across several disciplines, Commonwealth Games 2018 Road Time Trial champion and a GreenEDGE original having been with the team since 2012, minus a short hiatus in 2016.

“To win the Team Time Trial in the 2013 Tour de France in Nice was incredible. We had so much drama happen with the bus getting stuck on Stage 1, Simon Gerrans winning Stage 3, the first week became a whirl wind of stories every day. We went so fast in that Team Time Trial and won by the smallest of margins. We knew we could go well but I don’t think we ever expected the Yellow Jersey along with the win. To have the leaders jersey of the biggest cycle race in the world was unbelievable and to hold it for the next four stages was more then we could of ever imagined. It was a dream come true for everyone within our new GreenEdge organisation and put Australian Cycling as a Team at the top of the World Stage.”

Memories from the race itself…

“I remember the day of the Team Time Trial being really hectic. The stage was packed with spectators and we arrived late to the start. We did one quick lap on the bikes to check the course out and nearly ran out of time to do our warm up. Everything was a bit rushed that we never really got time to think about all the what if’s. That probably helped us as went we out and attacked the course as hard as we could. I was a little nervous being in the starting position for the team as we rolled down the ramp, but once we were into the race and rhythm, I knew we were on a fast ride. I remember Whitey screaming to pedal as hard as we could all the way to the line because it was that close. Once we knew we were the winners it was pandemonium. We were jumping up and down, cheering in disbelief like we had won the lottery. You could not take the smiles off our faces.”

Bring on Nice 2020

Bring on Nice 2020

If Nice’s last appearance at the Tour de France is anything to go by, its return in 2020 will no doubt be spectacular. With the Grand Départ and the opening three stages taking place from its picturesque coastal shores, it will provide the perfect stage to showcase professional cycling at its very best as the world’s most talented cyclists go head to head to claim first honours.

For the Mitchelton-SCOTT team, they may just carry that bit of additional motivation, as they push their pedals through Nice with some unforgettable memories.

“I am excited to see the Tour de France return to Nice. So many professional cyclists have a base in that area which makes it a special place. Our team will always remember that day we pulled on our first yellow jersey, so I’m sure when the team lines up this year, an extra motivation will be in them to start the Tour in a successful fashion. It’s a fantastic location with special memories for the GreenEdge family and fingers crossed 2020 is just as good.” – Cameron Meyer


Interested in being there to witness the beauty of Nice and the Tour de France combined at this year’s Grand Départ Nice? Mummu Cycling will be running a 5 day experience that will have you as close as can be to the spectacular start; from the official opening ceremony, through to three LIVE opening stages, all from the heart of stunning Nice. Limited places remain…find out more, here.

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