The Tour’s stay in Morzine takes place exactly a year before the decision by the IOC on the bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Morzine is part of the Annecy bid and is scheduled to hold the women’s downhill should France be chosen by the International Olympic Committee. Part of the biggest skiing domain in the world – Les Porte du Soleil – with 650 km of pistes, Morzine also has a long tradition in organising ski races. The resort hosted 11 World Cup races while international skiers like Cyprien Richard or Olivia Bertrand, who both took part in the Vancouver Olympics, were trained here.
Lance Armstrong’s memories of Morzine are not especially sweet. In his seven-year itch, he almost never faltered except once, in a stage finishing in Morzine on the 2000 Tour. Caught off-guard after an attack by Marco Pantani, the American shunned the feeding zone and bonked in the Joux-Plane climb, losing two minutes on Jan Ullrich. Which did not stop him winning the Tour with a six-minute lead!
Since 1975, Morzine and the Tour have a special relationship as this visit is the 18th. Climbers were always in the spotlight, the only man to have won twice here being Richard Virenque. Two former Morzine stage winners departed too early: Thierry Claveyrolat scored one his greatest wins here in 1991 while Marco Pantani won in 1997. Thanks to his stage victory in 1988, Fabio Parra became the first Colombian to finish on the Tour podium.
Population : 3,000
Specialities : cheese (tomme, abondance, reblochon)
Economy : ski, tourism.
Celebrities : Jean Vuarnet, Cyprien Richard, Olivia Bertrand.
Sports : skiing, Morzine Avoriaz hockey club.
Events : Mountains tournament (football), paragliding World Cup, Mont Blanc rally.