- Date published
- June 10, 2022
When Tour de France races over the Great Belt Fixed Link on Saturday 2 July 2022, it will not only mark a high point of an event transmitted to hundreds of thousands of viewers across the world. It will also celebrate a world-class union of sport and architecture.
At the end of the second stage, the Tour field will pass over the iconic Great Belt Bridge, and once again the eyes of the world will be on the bridge deck. The Danish architects Dissing+Weitling were behind the bridge, which marked a breakthrough in design when it was completed in 1998, and today, with the Tour de France, it will be the centre for a trial of strength on Danish soil.
According to the general director of the Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme, the Great Belt Bridge is “one of the main reasons we wanted to organise a Grand Départ in Denmark” (TV2, 22.03.2022). The bridge is an iconic piece of architecture and engineering, it was admitted to the Danish Ministry of Culture Canon of Architecture, and it is still one of the world’s largest bridge and tunnel links. It is also one of the reasons why Danish bridge design is so internationally renowned.
Poul Ove Jensen from Dissing+Weitling, who was the architect behind the Great Belt Bridge, says:
- The bridge was a turning point for Dissing+Weitling and for Danish bridge architecture. It was the beginning of our international work on bridges and the outset for the export of Danish bridge design we see today. When we were working on the bridge in the 1980s and 1990s, there was great public outcry against entire project, but this turned circle to national pride when the bridge was completed. The Tour over the Great Belt Bridge is a celebration of cycle racing, and it’s fantastic that it’s also an indirect celebration of what Danish architecture and engineering really can do. It’ll be an iconic cycling drama on an iconic bridge.
According to the Grand Départ Copenhagen Denmark secretariat, Tour de France is transmitted to about 190 countries, and hundreds of thousands of spectators will be watching the three phases in Denmark.
Alex Pedersen, spokesperson for Grand Départ Copenhagen Denmark, says on www.letourcph.dk:
- The finish over the Great Belt Bridge was crucial for getting Tour de France to Denmark. Television pictures of the riders coming over the bridge will become part of Tour history, and the drama will be even more exciting because all the types of riders are competing on this day to win the stage, a classification, the green jersey, or the mountain jersey – everything is at stake.
(Translation by Dissing+Weitling)
The most eye-catching element of the Great Belt Fixed Link is the suspension bridge, the East Bridge, with its characteristic, ground-breaking design. Despite the enormous weight of the anchor blocks, it was possible to design them as completely open structures, giving them a light and delicate expression. The pylons meet the water without artificial islands and bases, and the traditional cross girder under the bridge has not been necessary. This approach has since been an example for bridge structures across the world.