2019 Grand Depart

Grand Départ Classic 2023

Registrations for the 2023 Grand Départ Classic will open soon.

The Grand Départ Classic is Prostate Cancer UK’s very own cycling event that gives you the opportunity to cycle the first road stage of the Tour de France. In 2023 the Tour de France departs from Bilbao, Spain and we'll be taking on the first road stage, just days ahead of the pros.

Register your interest in the 2023 Grand Départ Classic now to be the first to hear about the ride. 

Register your interest in 2023

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
2019 Grand Depart 4

What will we do in 2023?

The ride will take place on the 23 - 25 June 2023, the weekend before the pros set off on the same route. We expect 100 riders to join us on this adventure like no other!

Once you arrive, we’ll take care of the event logistics, including two nights’ accommodation, meals and an incredible ride day experience, with a fully signed route, feed stations, full medical and mechanical support, and much, much more. Riders will need to arrange their own transport to and from Bilbao. 

Arrival Day - The event begins once you arrive at the hotel, you’ll check in and have time to relax before we gather for the jersey presentation and pre-ride dinner.

Ride Day - There'll be an early morning coach transfer from our hotel to the start line. Here we’ll set off at approx. 7am, allowing 10 hours to complete the ride. Once riders reach the finish line, there'll be a coach transfer back to our accommodation base in Bilbao. The celebrations will then begin that evening at the post-ride dinner

Departure Day - Breakfast will be served, before we say farewell to riders. There'll be an option for riders to extend their stay, to make the most of the opening weekend of the Tour.

Start to finish a very well organised event, not a sportive, a family.
Gary Evans 2016, 2017 & 2018 rider

The 2023 route

The 2023 route will follow the Bilbao-to-Bilbao loop stage. Starting and finishing in the historic industrial city of Bilbao, riders can experience both rolling routes and more challenging climbs with the coast and green mountains right on the edge of the city of Bilbao. After leaving the city, riders will travel west towards the first climb, the Côte de Laukiz, then northeast along the beautiful Basque country coastline.

After climbing to Côte de San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, riders will begin travelling south, passing through the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve and enjoying some glorious natural scenery, before turning back towards the Bay of Biscay. You’ll loop back around towards the east and the final three climbs, Côte de Morga, Côte de Vivero, and Côte de Pike. From here, riders have a speedy descent to our finish line back in Bilbao to complete the 185km loop, with time to bask in the Basque atmosphere.

For more information on the route of the first road stage, click here.

2019 Grand Depart

We'll look after you and your bike throughout the event, from the moment you arrive at the hotel on arrival day, to the moment you say farewell on departure day.

The support we provide includes: 

  • Two night’s accommodation
  • All meals from the evening your arrive through to the morning you depart
  • 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 

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

Typically, a first stage of the Tour de France tends to be flatter than the rest of the Tour, with a distance averaging 190km. Bilbao is a loop stage, with five category 4 climbs over 185km.

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

If you are concerned about its difficulty, give Jon or Hayley from the Sporting Events team a call on 0203 310 7034.

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 5pm 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.

When will the ride take place?

The Grand Depart Classic 2023 will take place on the 23 - 25 of June 2023.

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

There'll be a wide range of abilities, though the majority of riders will be taking on this distance for the very first time, attempting to complete the stage in between 8 – 10 hours. A small number of club riders at the front will be aiming to complete the ride in around 6 hours. 
If you’re keen to say hello to riders before signing up, make sure you join the Facebook Group and introduce yourself. 

Is the event on closed roads? 

The Grand Départ Classic is on open roads, and despite the passing traffic, the route will not pass through any of the busier roads whilst still trying to remain as loyal as possible to the route. 

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 10 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 get in touch with the team at Prostate Cancer UK. 

Jersey competition

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

  • 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

There will also be a team classification award (those in a team of four or more) to recognise the top fundraising team.

View the 2022 leaderboard here