The Grand Depart Classic 2016

Ride like a pro in Düsseldorf in 2017

***Use promo code GDC25 to claim £25 off your registration fee for a limited time only.***

Join Men United next June and cycle the first road stage of the 2017 Tour de France, one week before the pros.

This event spans three nights and four days (one day riding) and is your chance to follow in the tyre tracks of the Tour and find out what it takes to pedal like a champion. You'll be proving your prowess both in the peloton and on the fundraising leaderboard, and making a real difference to the lives of men with prostate cancer.

With full support crews including mechanical backup and medical support included in the signup price, you’re free to focus on the road ahead and enjoy taking on some of Germany’s most spectacular roads.

Find out more

There is limited space on the ride, so if you're interested in taking part, contact us with any questions and book your place. Use promo code GDC25 to claim £25 off your registration fee for a limited time only.

Book your place

What happened in 2016?

On Friday 24 June, 75 cyclists completed the first stage of the 2016 Tour de France from Mont Saint Michel to Utah Beach, just eight days 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 £70,000 has been raised to help stop men dying of prostate cancer.

Probably the most amazing thing I've ever done!!! What a buzz, lovely to meet so many genuinely amazing people and can't wait till next Saturday to see it on TV...

- Andrew Kydd, 2016 rider

The 2017 route

The first road stage of the 2017 Tour de France is a flat one, totalling 202km.

It begins from the Burgplatz (castle square) in the heart of Düsseldorf along the harbour. After a 9km neutral zone the official start will take place on the east side of the city on Kaiserstrasse and continue to travel east through Erkrath and the Neader valley, before heading north towards Mettmann and then west back through Düsseldorf. Approximately 50km of the route will have been completed at this point.

After 52km, the route will leave Düsseldorf and go through Meerbusch to Neuss. After passing through downtown Neuss, the riders will reach the North Rhine-Westphalian cycling stronghold of Kaarst-Büttgen. The route then travels to Mönchengladbach, onto Düren and then towards the historical city of Jülich, which was French territory from 1794 to 1814 as part of the Département de la Roer.

The Cathedral City of Aachen is the last German city that the route passes through, before crossing the Belgian border through the thermal resort town of Chaudfontaine, and finishing 202km later in the Belgian city of Liège.

Quite possibly one of the best experiences of my life so far. Met some lovely people. See you in Dusseldorf!

- James Harvey, 2016 rider

What's the plan?

grand depart champagne

We'll take care of all the logistics, from booking accommodation to getting you and your bike out to Germany and back again. All you'll need to do is focus on the road ahead.

Thursday 22 June 2017: Meet in London for an overnight hotel stay (meal not included). Your bikes will be checked into a support van, and you’ll have the chance to meet the other riders.

Friday 23 June 2017: Eurostar to Brussels, coach to Düsseldorf, arrival in the afternoon and a leisurely evening with a pre-ride team meal.

Saturday 24 June 2017: Ride Day. Early breakfast followed by a short cycle to the official start of the 2017 Tour de France. The ride will begin at 7am, and you’ll have until 6pm to cycle the full route, finishing in Liège. After you cross the finish line, there’ll be a coach journey to the hotel in Brussels for your recovery and a celebration meal.

Sunday 25 June 2017: Return journey back to London via the Eurostar from Brussels.

I don't think I speak for just myself when I try to express what a truly incredible few days we've had! The experience was more fantastic than I'd even started to imagine!

- Joshua Smith, 2016 rider


Register your interest

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.

We've created four jerseys and they will each be awarded on the eve of next year's event.

grand depart classic jersey competition winners

  • The Yellow Jersey will be awarded to the overall top fundraiser at midday on Thursday 22 June.
  • The Polka Jersey will be awarded to the leading fundraiser at midday on Saturday 1 April.
  • The Green Jersey will be awarded to the first person to raise over £1,100 in sponsorship.
  • The White Jersey will be awarded to the top fundraiser at midday on Thursday 22 June who is under the age of 36.

Check out the Jersey competition from the 2016 ride.

Book your place

Any questions?

  • What's included?  

    We'll look after you and your bike throughout the event, from the moment you arrive on Thursday afternoon/evening at ourLondon hotel, to the moment you say farewell on the Sunday. The support we provide includes:

    • Three nights accommodation
    • All meals from Friday morning through to Sunday morning
    • Return Eurostar and coach transfers between London and Düsseldorf, and then from the finish back to London (including bike transfer)
    • Fully signed route, with feed stations, mechanical and medical support
    • Your own Men United cycle jersey
    • Professional rider numbers to wear and keep, confirming your unique entry
  • What about the ride itself?  

    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 2016 riders started cycling again for the first time since their childhood and successfully completed the ride. If you are concerned about its difficulty, give Jon or Andy from the Sporting Events team a call on 0203 310 7034. They both completed this year's event, and can tell you want to expect in 2017.

    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 6pm 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.

  • How many people are taking part?  

    We are aiming to recruit 250 riders to the event and raise over £250,000 to help beat prostate cancer.

  • How old do I need to be?  

    You must be 18 or over to take part.

  • What do I need to sign up?  

    You'll need to pay the £149 non-refundable registration fee to confirm your place. When booking your place you'll need to have your passport details to hand. There are two options:

    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 £513.50 by 22 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.

  • What happens after I sign up?  

    You'll get a call from someone in the Sporting Events team to welcome you on board, followed by an email to confirm your place, together with a pack in the post which includes your Men United jersey to wear with pride throughout your preparations.

  • How can I meet others taking part?  

    Once you sign up, we'll invite you to the event's Facebook group so that you can say hello to the other riders taking part and share your preparations with everyone.

  • Where does the event start?  

    The event begins on the Thursday afternoon at a hotel in London. The details of this hotel will be announced soon.

  • Can I bring my family and friends along with me?  

    We can provide you with all the travel and accommodation details so your family and friends can make their own plans to see you during the event.

  • Can I extend my stay after the event?  

    Yes, you can. Please just let us know in advance and ensure you keep hold of your bike or arrange for someone to collect it back in London when the event finishes.

  • I'd like to ask something else  

    Contact Jon or Andy from the Sporting Events team online, or give them a call on 0203 310 7034.