Grand Départ Classic 2021

Take on the first stage of the 2021 Tour de France, a week ahead of the pros.

Find out more by registering your interest, be the first to hear when registrations open, and receive an early bird discount code to book your place. 

What is the Grand Départ Classic?

The Grand Depart Classic is Prostate Cancer UK’s very own cycling event, that gives you the opportunity to cycle the first road stage of the 2021 Tour de France, one week ahead of the pros. It will be taking place in the French region of Brittany, and we take care of all the logistics, so you can focus on the freshly paved roads and make a real difference to the lives of men with prostate cancer. 

What's the plan?

grand depart champagne

The event will be between 17–20 June 2021, with the ride taking place on Saturday 19 June. We expect over 250 riders to join us on this adventure like no other, and we’ll take care of the logistics, from booking the travel and accommodation, to transporting you out and back to Brittany from the UK.  

Thursday 17 June: We’ll meet in Plymouth throughout the afternoon, giving you the opportunity to meet your fellow riders and find out what’s in store over the coming days. Your bike will be racked up and transported over to the Brittany hotel where you’ll be reunited with it the next day, and as the afternoon draws to a close, you’ll board the overnight ferry which will set sail that evening to the Brittany port of Roscoff.  

An evening meal will be provided on the ferry, and you’ll have a bed for the night in a shared cabin to give you the rest you’ll need for the challenge ahead.  

Friday 18 June: You’ll wake up on the ferry with breakfast served on board. After the ferry docks in Roscoff, you’ll walk off and be transported by coach to our accommodation base in Brest. You’ll have the day to yourself, whether you fancy exploring the city or putting your feet up at the hotel. 

Lunch will be provided, and during the afternoon you’ll have access to your bike, allowing you to make any final tweaks, with mechanics on hand to help. In the evening there’ll be a Ride Day briefing including the jerseys presentation, followed by an evening meal and early night.  

Saturday 19 June: Ride Day. Early breakfast followed by a short warm up ride to the official start of the 2021 Tour de France. The ride will begin at 7am, and you’ll have approx. 12 hours to complete the ride. The route will be fully signposted, they’ll be feed stations along the route and a support crew on hand if you need any assistance. After you cross the finishing line, you'll have a short coach journey back to a hotel for your recovery and a celebration meal. You’ll hand in your bike at the finish line, which will be transported back to Plymouth ready to collect the next day.

Sunday 20 June: Breakfast will be served at the hotel, before you check out and board a coach to take you to Roscoff, for the ferry journey back to Plymouth. After the ferry docks at Plymouth, you’ll be reunited with your bike and have a chance to say farewell to the team, before you depart and the event is completed. 

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

- Gary Evans, 2016, 2017 & 2018 rider

 

The 2021 route

The 2021 Tour de France departs from the city of Brest and the first road stage will no doubt take in the best of Brittany’s Armor coastal region and its inland Argoat territories, over a distance of approximately 200km and generally flat terrain. The region of Brittany does have some gentle rolling landscape, though steep hills are few and far between.

The route will be confirmed on 29 October at the presentation of the 2021 Tour de France, though it promises to take in breath-taking scenery and provide memories to last a lifetime. 

 

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 this year's ride.

The Grand Depart Classic 2016

What's included

We'll look after you and your bike throughout the event, from the moment you arrive at Plymouth on the Thursday afternoon, to the moment you say farewell on Sunday.  

The support we provide includes:

  • Three night’s accommodation
  • All meals from the Thursday evening through to Sunday morning
  • All travel which includes the ferry crossing and onwards coach travel to Brest, and the return leg back to Plymouth on Sunday. 
  • The full Ride Day experience which includes a fully signed route, GPX route file, feed stations, cycle guides, mechanical and medical support.
  • Your exclusive Prostate Cancer UK cycle jersey and finishers medal.
  • Professional rider numbers to wear and keep, confirming your unique entry

Contact us with a question
Football to Amsterdam cyclist giving a thumbs up

How to sign up

There is a £149 registration fee and you can choose from one of the following two options: 

 

Option 1: Minimum sponsorship

 

  • Pledge to raise a minimum of £1,000 in sponsorship (excluding Gift Aid).
  • The first £500 must be raised by 1 April for your place on the event to be confirmed.

 

Option 2: Self-funder 

 

  • In addition to the registration fee, pay a further fee (TBC) to cover your full event costs. This additional payment is required by 16 April 2021.
  • We would ask you to raise as much as you can in sponsorship, with a recommended minimum of £250.

 

We’ll be on hand to help you smash your target with tips, fundraising advice, resources and materials, plus the earlier you sign up the easier it is to exceed your sponsorship goal. If you'd like any advice, please get in touch on 0203 310 7034 or email cycling@prostatecanceruk.org.

The Grand Depart Classic 2016

Ride details

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

This year's route will be confirmed in October, but typically a first stage of the Tour de France tends to be flatter than the rest of the Tour, with a distance averaging 190km. 

Many of our 2019 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 last year's route as well as the year before, and can tell you want to expect in 2020.

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
A cyclist rides on a country road

FAQs

What happens if the event does not go ahead due to Covid-19? 

 

If the event in June 2021 cannot go ahead, we will assess the situation and consider postponing the event until later in the year. If that is not an option, the event will be cancelled. In the event of the event being postponed or cancelled, riders will be able to receive a refund of their registration fee or roll their place over to the 2022 event in Copenhagen, together with any sponsorship money they’ve raised so far. 

 

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

 

The first road stage in Brittany is likely to be a sprinters stage, of approximately 200km in distance and generally flat terrain. The region of Brittany does have some gentle rolling landscape, though steep hills are few and far between.

 

Many of our previous riders started cycling again for the first time since their childhood and successfully completed a stage. We’ll provide you with plenty of training support and advice to ensure you can complete a suitable training programme ahead of the event. 

 

What will be the ability of riders taking part, as I don’t want to be left behind! 

 

There will be a wide range of abilities, through the majority of riders will be taking on this distance for the very first time, attempting to complete the stage in between 10 – 12 hours. There will be a small number of club riders at the front aiming to complete the ride in around 6 hours, those they will be few and far between.

 

If you’re keen to say hello to riders before signing up, join the Facebook Group and introduce yourself. 

 

Is the event on closed roads? 

 

The Grand Depart Classic is on open roads, and whilst there will be passing traffic, the route will not pass through any major cities, and will largely take you on country lanes with quiet levels of traffic. 

 

What is the format of the ride?

 

It will be a sportive format, which means everyone will be able to cycle at their own pace throughout the day. Riders will not be grouped together throughout the stage.

 

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 approximately 12 hours to cross the finishing line. 

 

What support will be available during the ride? 

 

The ride will be fully signposted, and feature cycle guides throughout to ensure everyone has someone to ride with. Cycle guides will be able to offer medical and mechanical support, with vehicles available close by if further assistance is required.

 

There will be feed stations at approximately every 50km, allowing you to take a breather and refuel, ready for the next leg. 

 

What type of bike will I need? 

 

We recommend using a road bike to help with speed, style and efficiency. For further advice check out this guide or get in touch with the team at Prostate Cancer UK.