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Grand Départ Manche 2016

Christopher Froome, Mont-Saint-Michel, 2013 © Press Sports Fort de la Hougue, Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue Cherbourg

How to get to Saint-Lô

By plane: the airports in caen-carpiquet 70 kms away and cherbourg-maupertuis 85 kms away By train: there are several daily links from saint-lazare station in Paris > journey duration: 3 hours By road: 305 km from Paris via the a13 and a84 motorways, then the rn 174 road
90 km from Mont-Saint-Michel
30 km from Utah Beach Sainte-Marie-du-Mont
85 km from Cherbourg-Octeville
60 km from Granville

Key dates

Tuesday 20th October : 2016 Tour de France presentation at the Palais des Congrès de Paris
Wednesday 29th june: opening of the headquarters and press centre at the parc des expositions in saint-lô
Thursday 30th june: presentation of the teams of the tour de france 2016
Saturday 2nd july: first stage, mont-saint-michel > utah beach sainte-marie-du-mont
Sunday 3rd july: second stage, saint-lô > cherbourg-octeville
Monday 4th july: third stage, granville > …

Cap de la Hague L’île du large Saint-Marcouf

It is la Manche in French, or the (English) Channel as it is known to English-speakers, surrounding this piece of land over a distance of 350 kilometres, to the north, north east and its entire western façade that gives the area its name. The department of la Manche, which has a population of approximately 500,000, known as Manchois, belongs to the region of Basse-Normandie (Lower Normandy). Whilst agriculture, through livestock breeding, fruit orchards and vegetable crops, is the main pillar of its economy, there are also widely developed activities such as fishing, ship-building, the nuclear industry and tourism. Furthermore, it boasts two UNESCO world heritage sites: the Mont-Saint-Michel and its surrounding eponymous bay and the Hougue and Tatihou towers built by Vauban in Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue. On the east coast, it was on Utah Beach, located in the municipality of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont (with a population of 750) that a key moment in the conclusion of the Second World War took place, during the D-day landings on the 6th of June 1944. Saint-Lô, with a population of 20,000, is the administrative centre of the department. Nicknamed “the capital of ruins” after the war, it now boasts a different moniker, thanks to its national stud farm: “the capital of horses”. As regards, Cherbourg-Octeville (with its population of 40,000), protected by the largest artificial harbour in the world, it is today the spearhead of la Manche department which is positioning itself as a major player in energy transition and renewable marine energy. Finally, also influenced by the sea, the coastal town of Granville (with its population of 13,000) also has retained traces of its Newfoundland fishing fleet past.

Gustave Garrigou © Press Sports Tony Martin © Press Sports

The Tour de France has already visited la Manche 23 times, but in 2016 the department will be hosting the Grand Départ for the very first time. Six cities in la Manche have welcomed the Tour, but the Grande Boucle’s oldest ties are with Cherbourg, that the peloton has visited by seventeen times. The first time, in 1911, future winner Gustave Garrigou took home a Norman bouquet. The Grande Boucle has often shied away from the tip of the Cotentin peninsula, but two stages have finished in Avranches and the last one, in 2002, was one to remember: Australian Bradley McGee promised to win the stage before the start and was as good as his word. The Tour’s recent visits to la Manche have been marked by the two finishes at the foot of the Mont-Saint-Michel. Belgian Johan Museeuw was the first to triumph at the “Wonder of the Western World” back in 1990. Twenty-three years later, German Tony Martin claimed a time trial during the 100th edition of the Tour.

Tour de France stage cities in la Manche

  • Avranches (4 times)
  • Cherbourg (17 times)
  • Granville (1 time)
  • Mont-Saint-Michel (2 times)
  • Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët (2 times)
  • Saint-Martin-de-Landelles (1 time)

Riders from la Manche in the Tour de France

Camille Bière (1903 and 1910), Jules Lebreton (1921 and 1922), Henri Touzard (1923 to 1930 except for 1928), Eugène Léveillé (1923), François Lepenant (1925), Georges Dever (1929), Raymond Lebreton (1956, 1957), Félix Lebuhotel (1959 to 1961), Raymond Delisle (1966 to 1977, 2 stage wins, yellow jersey in 1976), Charly Rouxel (1973 to 1978), Philippe Durel (1978 and 1980), Gérard Macé (1979), Jean-Claude Bagot (1984 to 1994), Amaël Moinard (2008 to 2014), Anthony Delaplace (2011 to 2014), Julien Fouchard (2012) and Mikaël Chérel (2012 and 2014).

Jean-François LE GRAND
Honorary Member of Parliament / President of the General Council of la Manche

A magical experience!

Jean-François LE GRAND, Honorary Member of Parliament / President of the General Council of la Manche and Christian PRUDHOMME, Director of the Tour de France © A.S.O. Mont Saint-Michel © A.S.O.

Cycling is a story of life, humility and pushing one’s limits. Selflessness and sacrifice are its code of honour. Riders tackle difficulties to overcome them, face their fears to tame them and embrace fatigue to defeat it. Cycling has but one commandment: thou shalt push to the limit without ever giving up. The Tour de France is a monument of sport which adds a new chapter in its history to our shared heritage every year.

It is a mix of beauty, thrills, passion, dreams and performance.

It belongs to all the French people as the event which raises our country’s profile all over the world. We are all in love with “la petite reine”, but each of us has a secret and personal story with the Grande Boucle: the Tour is a childhood friend, the spark which lights up our children’s eyes and makes their hearts grow wings every year in July.

La Manche is a green garden with a blue rim, a land of contrasts swept by the wind and bathed in tangential light which elevates it to eternity. An extraordinary jewel of nature where the coast beats to the rhythm of the tides. La Manche, wild and untarnished, boasts a wide range of landscapes which bring the majesty of its monuments and the wealth of its land to the fore. Here, it is all about harmony, sincerity and modesty.The paths of cycling, the Tour de France and la Manche were destined to cross one day or the other. We are proud to showcase cycling in our dazzling landscapes, to give the Tour de France a warm, passionate welcome and to get la Manche the exposure it rightfully deserves. With them, the 2016 Grand Départ will be magic to the power of three.

Director of the Tour de France

The first pictures and the first thrills

The three weeks of racing at the Tour de France are a treasure trove of memories, as outbursts of joy make us forget tears of suffering, mountains leave their mark on the race, a handful of sprints stand out for their fierceness and the podium on the Champs-Élysées brings a mosaic of emotions to a solemn close. Yet I often remember the first image of the Tour with particular fondness. We, as the stage managers of this great show, have to go to great lengths to set up the scene of the Grand Départ. There is no doubt that the majesty of the Mont-Saint-Michel will provide the perfect backdrop to the athletic and aesthetic efforts of the peloton. The riders of the 103rd Tour de France will gather together at the foot of the “Wonder of the Western World” on Saturday, July 2, 2016.

The initial chapter of the race will feature two normal road

stages entirely within la Manche department and all the ingredients needed to spice things up. Other than the awesome setting, the finish line on Utah Beach Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, for what seems likely to be a sprint finish, will provide an opportunity to salute the soldiers who bravely landed on the shores of Normandy back in June 1944. The next day, after the bunch rolls out of the capital of la Manche, Saint-Lô, the finale near Cherbourg-Octeville, with the fearsome climb of La Glacerie, will provide the first clear picture of who’s hot and who’s not. Add to that the start of stage 3 in Granville and you bet we will see images for the ages…

Overall route
Stage 1

Mont-Saint-Michel > Utah Beach Sainte-Marie-du-Mont

188 km

In the wake of the Grand Départ in Corsica, Yorkshire and Utrecht in the Netherlands in 2015, a spectacular visual sequence will be on the program for the pack’s first kilometres of the 2016 Tour de France, starting from the foot of the Mont-Saint-Michel. The riders will ride along the bay then, after having crossed the Cotentin peninsula from west to east, will head to Utah Beach, one of the Normandy landing beaches on D-day, 6th June 1944, located in the village of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, passing through towns that have left their mark on history such as Sainte-Mère-Église. This essentially costal route will expose the riders to possibly gusty winds, but the entirely flat profile should definitely be an advantage for the main sprinters’ teams.

Stage 2

Saint-Lô > Cherbourg-Octeville

182 km

The Tour 2016 will not wait long to flush out the contenders for victory. Already on the second day of racing, the major players will be forced to show their mettle, display their intentions on the tarmac and throw themselves into battle. After leaving Saint-Lô and heading south for an excursion in the Vire valley, the race will then head towards Coutances before returning to the coast for a quick glance at the Channel Islands. However, on nearing La Hague, the riders will have to prepare themselves for tougher tests. After crossing Cherbourg-Octeville, the pack, or whatever remains of it, will tackle the steep ascent up the Côte de La Glacerie. At the summit, there will be a struggle to gain seconds after three kilometres of climbing including a section at 14%.

Stage 3

Granville > …

The peloton will bid farewell to la Manche having criss-crossed the entire department. Stage 3 will start from Granville, a port and beach resort on the western coast, for a finish that will remain a yet-to-be-decided location until the 2016 Tour de France presentation on October 20th, 2015.

Jersey wearers after the stage 1

Classifications after the stage 1

The Jerseys of the Tour

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Sponsorship and Environment

Since it was founded, Amaury Sport Organisation has been involved in various sponsorship and philanthropy activities. It is the generosity of sport that can be found in a certain number of initiatives aiming to invest in the workings of the disciplines themselves (sponsorship of the French Federation of Cycling), in a humanitarian and social framework, (Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque, Actions Dakar, Un Techo Para Mi Pais) or in the environmental sphere (Madre De Dios, selective sorting, etc.). Read more

A.S.O. is committed to integrating environmental considerations into the organisation of its races: Limiting CO2 emissions; A quality waste management policy for the spectators but also for the organisers and the riders; The promotion of cycling as an alternative, environmentally-friendly means of transport. Read more

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