If you’re an avid cyclist then the Grand Départ Classic is most definitely an event for you. With the last couple of days of what has been a very close and eventful Tour de France taking place, I can imagine you’d give anything to cycle like a pro and take on the same roads of the likes of Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana and many more. I have good news for you my friend, because “DREAMS DO COME TRUE”, as once sung by Gabrielle in 93’.
The Grand Départ Classic gives you the opportunity to cycle the first stage of the Tour de France, one week before the pros. 2016 was its inaugural year and took place in France; this year we cycled the first road stage from Düsseldorf to Liége and next year we’ll be returning to France for what will be a very scenic route indeed.
Not only does it give you an exclusive opportunity to ride a Tour stage but it also allows you to raise money for a very worthy cause. June’s second annual event saw a peleton of 75 help to raise more than £115,000, taking the total to £200,000 over the two years.
What’s happening in 2018?
Taking place in the Vendée region of western France, the 105th edition of Le Tour will kick off from Noirmoutier-en-I’lle on 30 June and cross the iconic Passage du Gois, a causeway which is often flooded, with roads only available for a limited time.
The last time the Tour started on the passage in 2011, former world champion Philippe Gilbert won his first and only stage win of the legendary race. The 2018 edition will take that same direction for the first part of the stage along the stunning coastline, going through Saint-Jean-de Monts and Les Sables-d’Olonne, before finishing in Fontenay-le-Comte. The stage will be relatively flat and clocks in at approximately 195km. Below is the official TDF route map but you can also view it on Strava here.
Fully signposted and supported, with all travel and accommodation included, you’ll be free to breeze through this coastal stage and enjoy some spectacular views of the Atlantic.
If you book your place before 31 July you’re eligible for a £25 discount on your registration fee. Use promo code GDC25 at the checkout for your discount.
In the spirit of the Tour de France’s four jerseys, a jersey competition has been created to give you the opportunity to rep yellow, green, polka dot and white.
The yellow jersey will honour the top fundraiser, the polka dot attire will go on the rider that raises the most by 1 April and the green is for the fastest to reach the minimum £1,000 sponsorship. Youth is the key for the white jersey, just like in Le Tour, with the youngest top fundraiser under the age of 36 pulling on that coloured jersey.
If you’re still not sold on this awesome event, don’t just take my word for it; peep the video below:
For more information, please visit granddepartclassic.org.uk
Have you taken part in the Grand Départ before? What’s your view on the event?
Do get in touch and leave your comments as I’d love to hear from you!