Hundreds of citizens gathered in the vicinity of Bilbao City Hall starting at seven this afternoon to see the acts that have given start of the countdown of the 100 days for the great start of the Tour de France in the Biscayan capital, which will be held on July 1, with the Bilbao-Bilbao stage. An act with marked political overtones.
The Kalakan trio and nearly 150 members of all the choirs of the Bilbao Choral Society, with yellow scarves around their necks with the Tour de France logo, –which have also been distributed among the attending citizens– have enlivened the act with his music from the stairs of the town hall.
In front of the consistory, the mayor of Bilbao, Juan Mari Aburto; the Minister of Culture and Language Policy and Spokesperson of the Basque Government), Bingen Zupiria; the regional deputy for Public Administration and Institutional Relations, Elixabete Etxanobe; and the general director of the Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme, within the framework of the Grand Départ Pays Basque 2023, have activated the button that has activated the symbolic moment of the start of the Tissot chronometer, the lighting of a giant jersey in the Aznar building and the yellow illumination of the facade of the consistory.
The celebration continued with a tour of the center of the Villa, from the Town Hall itself to the San Mamés stadium. As the procession passed, some of the city’s most emblematic buildings were illuminated in yellow, such as the Bizkaia Tower, the Foral Palace, a point where a stop was made for a new musical performance, and the San Mamés, seasoned with a special reception from the club. Christian Prudhomme has received an Athletic jersey, commemorating the institution’s 125th anniversary, from Jon Uriarte, president of the entity, and Garazi Murua and Iker Muniain, both captains of the first teams. The Bizkaia Fronton has also been illuminated.
Prudhomme described the Basque as “the yellow jersey of the fans” in the act. Aburto and Etxanobe have highlighted that, “after six years of work”, the people of Bilbao and Biscay “have to enjoy and vibrate” from an event of the size of the Tour, an event that is exciting in the Biscayan capital because “Bilbao is a city who loves sports and who loves challenges”.
“We are delighted”, agreed Prudhomme, who advanced that the great French race will allow the world to see “the Basque geography and orography”, both “its coast and its beaches” and the mountain passes “that not just anyone climbs ” and that have led to as many climbers as Basque cycling has given. The French leader also highlighted “the insistence of the Basque institutions for the Tour to return to its land from the start in San Sebastián in 1992”. “And they didn’t want just one stage, but another great start of the race”, he assessed.
This will be the second time that the Tour de France starts from a Basque capital since the most important race on the professional cycling calendar already started from San Sebastián in 1992with the socialist Odón Elorza as mayor, an edition that was won by the legendary Navarrese cyclist Miguel Indurain, ahead of the Italians Claudio Chiapucci, second at four minutes and 35 seconds from Navarre, and Gianni Bugno, third at ten minutes and 49 seconds.