Top cyclists warm up for the Tour de France in upcoming Tour de Normandie
11th March, 2016
From Monday 21 to Sunday 27 March, one of Normandy’s most
popular events, the cycling event the Tour de Normandie, returns to the region,
bringing with it many of the world’s top cyclists hoping to place themselves in
good stead for the summer’s Tour de France.
The race is a popular staple on the UCI Europe Tour, a
series of races making up a continental circuit which is separate from races on
the World Tour such as the Tour de France. Formerly for amateurs only, the race
was opened up to the professional class in 1996, and today is one of the most
exciting cycle races in France - a perfect spectator event for those staying in our Normandy villas.
Following the prologue on March 21 in Carentan, the first
stage commences the following day in Mondeville – a 199km leg to
Forges-les-Eaux. This stage is the longest, though there are plenty of gruelling
climbs for the riders to face in the following shorter legs. Over the course of
the seven days, the tour will span much of the region, taking in locations such
as Caen, Argentan and Coutances.
The race dates back to 1939, though was not held between the
years of 1940-1955 and 1960-1980. Since then, it has been a highly popular
race, especially since higher stakes were brought in when it was introduced as
part of the UCI Europe Tour.