Grand Départ - practical information
La Roche-sur-Yon will host the first Fan Park of the 2018 Tour de France. From Thursday, at Place de la Vendée, a free-admission area will offer a new experience to fans of the world’s biggest bicycle race. The local associations and the race’s partners in association with the Tour de France will offer dozens of themed-activities for the Grand Départ in France’s Vendée Department in this venue that will be open until Sunday July 8, when stage two arrives at La Roche-sur-Yon. A giant screen will air the first two stages of the 2018 Tour de France, but will also air the team’s presentation set for Thursday evening at Place Napoleon, right next to the Fan Park.
Visitors will be able to check out the trial/BMX shows or take a test ride on a home-trainer, while the kids learn how to ride. There will also be road safety workshops and fans will have a chance to show off their knowledge of the Tour with quizzes and the Tour Museum, and everyone will leave with goodies.
Fan Park hours
- Thursday 5 July: 3pm to 9pm
- Friday 6 July and Saturday 7 July: 10:30am to 7pm
- Sunday 8 July: 10:30am to 6pm
The official presentation of the 176 riders representing the 22 teams participating in the 2018 Tour de France will take place between 18.30 and 20.00 on Thursday 5 July in La Roche-sur-Yon.
Following the general briefing that will take place at 17.30 at Grand R, Place Jeannie Mazurelle, the riders will first ride in procession to Place Napoléon, location of the podium where they will be presented in turn to the public. After being presented, each team will then continue on to Place de la Vendée and complete their presentation parade on Boulevard des États-Unis in front of the Vendée National Stud (Haras de la Vendee).
Yves Auvinet, President of the Conseil départemental of Vendée
"Navigating between earth and sea, the double heart of Vendée beats as one at the rhythm of great events. And the Tour de France, third largest sporting media event in the world, is one of them. It allows Vendée to travel beyond its frontiers as much as the Vendée Globe sailing race does so beyond the seas..."
On the Atlantic Ocean, between earth and sea, Vendée makes the best of the diversity of its landscapes. Symbol of quality of life, the “département” is a land of excellency. Economical excellency thanks to its numerous dynamic companies that show the richness and resources of the men and women who work in them. Sporting excellency with its great events starting with the Vendée Globe sailing race that shows the taste of effort and audacity characterized by the people of Vendée. Cycling excellency, especially in this territory known for its capacity to notice talents and train the next generation (Vendée U, the Direct Energie team of Jean-René Bernaudeau). A nice example of the cycling values embodied by the entire département!
Area: 6 720 km² divided between the Bocage vendéen, the largest part of the « département », the Marais breton, north west and the Plaine vendéenne, east.
250 kilometres of coastline on the Atlantic coast, including 140 kilometres of beaches
660 000 inhabitants (Vendéens)
Prefecture: La Roche-sur-Yon (53 000 inhabitants)
Bruno Retailleau, President of the Conseil régional des Pays de la Loire from December 2015 to September 2017
"For the tenth time of its history, la Grande Boucle will, next summer, take off on the roads of the region. The region is delighted and proud to welcome in 2018 no less than four stages of this legendary event with its international influence."
Pays de la Loire
Like Vendée, the entire region of Pays de la Loire will offer the face of dynamic area, rich thanks to the diversity and vitality of its territories, proud of its economical accomplishments as well as its great cultural and natural heritage. The five “départements” of Pays de Loire gather both an influence and strong roots, and they take on the most audacious challenges based on values for the future: the taste of effort, determination and fighting spirit, a sense of collectiveness. As many requirements that have enabled the inhabitants to lead the race in quite a few domains including sport. The Pays de Loire region indeed hosts sporting events known across the World like the Vendée Globe sailing race, the 24-Hours of Le Mans and of course this new Grand Départ of the Tour de France.
- PAYS DE LA LOIRE
Area: 32 000 km²
5 “départements”: Loire-Atlantique (44), Maine-et-Loire (49), Mayenne (53), Sarthe (72) and Vendée (85)
3.6 millions inhabitants (Ligériens)
The great hours
The roads of Vendée and Pays de la Loire are intimately linked to the history of the Tour de France. Back in 1919 thanks to a stage finish in Les Sables-d’Olonne, Vendée appeared for the first time on the map of the Tour. Nantes had already been visited in 1903 during the inaugural edition of the event.