In the city center of Poligny (Jura), June 20, 2023. PHILIPPE TRIAS / MAXPPP
In his electoral project for 2020, between the development of cycle paths or new investments in the energy transition, Dominique Bonnet, mayor since 2008 of Poligny, in the Jura, had slipped a less conventional wish: for his third term, the city councilor wanted to see the Tour de France pass through his town. “I was just hoping for a crossing”confides the elected official, a fan, like millions of French people, of the Grande Boucle, “popular and free show”.
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So when the organizer, Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), warned him in the fall of 2022 that Poligny had been chosen to host the finish of the 19th stage, Friday July 21, “You can imagine my reaction! », he says with a broad smile. Mr. Bonnet could never have thought that his village, which has only 4,000 inhabitants, could claim such an event. Poligny will be the smallest plain town to host a Tour finish since 1947.
It’s an eight-kilometre straight line – the longest of the 2023 edition, which promises a sprint finish – and the presence of large car parks in the village business area that convinced ASO to choose Poligny. Although larger, the Jura cities officially candidates for arrival this year did not offer this type of infrastructure. More than the reputation of a city, ASO is above all looking for an accessible and sufficiently large area to be able to park the 120 semi-trailers of the Tour.
14,000 direct and indirect jobs
It is therefore at the end of this long ribbon of bitumen that the victory will be decided, but also the reputation of the village and its star product, the county, of which it is the capital. In Poligny, everything revolves around the “king of cheeses”. On the Place des Déportés, in the heart of the city, there are countless creameries and shops dedicated to the first protected designation of France.
The city is also home to the Interprofessional County Management Committee, the National School of Dairy Industry and the Dairy Technology and Analysis Research Unit of the National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRAE). The Tour will provide a global showcase for the entire industry, which generates more than 600 million euros in annual turnover for 14,000 direct and indirect jobs.
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“All day, on television and radio, we will hear Poligny, Poligny, Poligny all over the world“, insists Stéphane Boury, general commissioner of the Tour and responsible for the stage arrival sites, during a preparatory meeting organized on March 6 in the village. At his side, the mayor is in heaven while his technical teams sink into their chairs listening to the specifications imposed by the Tour.
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