Grand Départ Classic 2019

Take on the the first stage of the 2019 Tour de France

Cycle like a pro and help stop prostate cancer being a killer! The Grand Départ Classic is your chance to cycle the first stage of the 2019 Tour de France from 28-30 June 2019.

Taking place in Brussels, this three day event (one day of riding) is your opportunity to ride on roads freshly paved for the pros, one week ahead of the Tour. Prove your prowess in the peleton, ace the route, ascend through the ranks of the fundraising leaderboard and make a real difference to the lives of men with prostate cancer.

Registrations for this year's event are now closed, however keep an eye out for the 2020 edition which will launch in July.

It's a fabulous experience, with an amazing cast of characters that participate and support your participation. Great camaraderie, great ride, great times...

- David Lundholm, 2018 rider


On Saturday 23 June 2018, 221 cyclists completed the first stage of the 2018 Tour de France from Noirmoutier-en-Ille to Fontenay-le-Comte, just two weeks before the pros. It was the adventure of a lifetime, with cyclists coming from all walks of life: young and not so young, seasoned veterans and some who'd picked up a bike for the first time since childhood to take on the challenge.

Many had been inspired by the Tour de France, many had had their lives touched by prostate cancer and all had their personal reasons for taking part. To date, over £462,000 has been raised to help stop men dying of prostate cancer.

What's the plan?

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This year, we're aiming to recruit 350 riders to raise over £400,000 to help beat prostate cancer. We'll take care of all the logistics, from booking accommodation to getting you and your bike out to Belgium and back again. All you'll need to do is focus on the road ahead.

Friday 28 June 2019: Meet at Ebbsfleet International station early morning for a Eurostar over to Brussels. After arriving in Brussels it is then a short coach trip to the hotel, followed by a leisurely afternoon with a pre-ride team meal in the evening. 

Saturday 29 June 2019: Ride Day. Early breakfast followed by short warm up ride to the official start of the 2019 Tour de France. The ride will begin at 7am, and you’ll have until 7pm to cycle the full route, finishing back in Brussels. After you cross the finish line, you'll have a short coach journey back to the hotel for your recovery and a celebration meal.

Sunday 30 June 2019: Return journey back to London via a Eurostar to Ebbsfleet. 

Start to finish a very well organised event, not a sportive, a family.

- Gary Evans, 2016, 2017 & 2018 rider


What do I need to do to take part?

You must be 18 or over to take part.

Option 1: Minimum sponsorship

Pay a £149 non-refundable registration fee and then pledge to raise a minimum of £1,000 in sponsorship (excluding Gift Aid).

Option 2: Self-funder

Pay a £149 non-refundable registration fee and then pay a further £511 by 20 April to cover your full event costs. We'd then ask you to raise as much as you can with a recommended minimum of £250.

Jersey competition

In the spirit of the Tour de France's four jerseys, we've been inspired to create our very own Grand Depart Classic jersey competition. Our four jerseys will each be awarded on the eve of the ride:

grand depart classic jersey competition winners

  • Yellow jersey: overall top fundraiser on the day before the ride
  • Polka jersey: leading fundraiser two months before the ride
  • Green jersey: first person to raise over £1,000 in sponsorship
  • White jersey: top fundraiser under the age of 36
  • Team Classification awards (those in a team of four or more): top fundraising team

Check out the Jersey competition for the 2019 ride.

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What's included

We'll look after you and your bike throughout the event, from the moment you arrive on Friday morning in Ebbsfleet, to the moment you say farewell on the Sunday. The support we provide includes:

  • Two nights accommodation
  • All meals from Friday evening through to Sunday morning
  • Return Eurostar and between Ebbsfleet and Brussels, and then from the finish back to Ebbsfleet (including bike transfer)
  • Fully signed route, with feed stations, mechanical and medical support
  • Finishers medal
  • Your own Prostate Cancer UK cycle jersey
  • Professional rider numbers to wear and keep, confirming your unique entry

Contact us with a question
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Ride details

How tough is it to cycle a stage of the Tour de France?

We've deliberately chosen a stage that is relatively flat and suitable to complete for the 'average' cyclist, as long as you put in the training. Many of our 2018 riders started cycling again for the first time since their childhood and successfully completed the ride. If you are concerned about its difficulty, give Jermayne from the Sporting Events team a call on 0203 310 7034. He completed this year's and last year's event, and can tell you want to expect in 2019.

How fast will I have to cycle?

You'll need to cycle at a minimum speed of 12 mph to successfully complete the stage. Riders will begin the stage at approximately 7am, and have until around 7pm to cross the finish line.

What support will I get to help me prepare?

We work alongside renowned coaching company RunningWithUs to provide you with expert training plans and advice on a wide range of topics from getting started, ride kit, bike handling, group riding, strength and conditioning, nutrition and more. You'll also be able to speak to the coaches at RunningWithUs throughout your training to ensure you are fully fit on ride day.

What type of bike will I need?

We recommend using a road bike to help with speed, style and efficiency.

Contact us with a question