France, an excellent country for cycling !
Symbolic locations and legendary courses such as the Tour de France, have engraved cycling on French history and culture, and are all great opportunities to discover the countryside and local race events.
In the grip of a pandemic which has impacted the whole world, cycling has become ever more popular in 2020 and is now part of regional plans for social development.
Cycling has become even more popular in cities. Notably Vélotaf (everyday cycling and cycling to work) has expanded considerably, developing both regular use and a sense of ecological responsibility.
Many Internet sites have been created about cycling. Public and intercompany events such as the ‘Back in the Saddle’ (Remise en selle) have introduced new disciplines. Government has strengthened its support for international organisations and school programs such as ‘Know How to Ride your Bike’ (Savoir Rouler à Vélo). Many new initiatives have been developed in all corners of France.
If the French Cycling Federation (FFC) has had such a success over the last few years training today’s champions and those of tomorrow in all cycling disciplines, the events they organise are also exceptional! They organise exceptional events! Cycling clubs are at the heart of the French Cycling Federation’s approach, its economic model and those of its affiliate organisations. Every year, they organise more than 10,000 cycling events across the country. Cycling clearly promotes more events and activities than any other sport in France.
The FFC and local authorities participate enthusiastically in the continued promotion of such events on the international stage. Since 2018, France has been the number one organiser of large international sporting events (GESI), which are also an expression of the French government’s commitment to promote a positive image of France around the world. These are a great example of sport contributing to economic activity but also to strategic and diplomatic efforts worldwide. This helps to reinforce a positive and dynamic sporting environment in view of the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic games in Paris 2024. These events also have a direct impact on people’s participation in sport.
The FFC, with the support of regional authorities and the cross-departmental body for major sporting events (DIGES), have convened many international meetings over the last few years and this year will organise three World Cycling Federation (Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI)) competitions in three Olympic disciplines. This is a year like no other, with the BMX Race in Nantes from the 27th to 31st of July 2022, Mountain Biking in Les Gets from the 24th to the 28th of August and at the World Track Championships at the National Velodrome in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines from the 12th to the 16th of October. A major first for France and the FFC!
These international events fulfil their sporting objectives, of course, but also serve some of the economic and strategic goals for the country and for the French government.