Dates Confirmed For 2016 Tour De France

By Fernand Gagnier, for 15 December, 2014

The Director of the Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme, has revealed that the Grand Départ for the 2016 race will take place in the Manche department of Lower Normandy, with the starting line at the foot of the World Heritage Site of Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey.

Prudhomme highlighted the department's "breathtaking scenery," and said that the historic landmark "will majestically enhance the very first pedal strokes of the riders of the peloton."

The Director explained that the first day's racing, on July 2, will follow the coast to the 1944 D-Day landing site of Utah Beach at Sainte-Marie-du-Mont. According to the organizers, the flat landscape will advantage sprinters, although racers may face sea gusts.

The second day will start from Saint-Lô, the capital of the Manche department. The route will take racers west to the town of Coutances, known for its thirteenth-century cathedral, before heading along the coast up to the cape of La Hague on the northwest tip of Normandy. The race will then turn eastwards, leading to the port city of Cherbourg-Octeville. The organizers warn that this leg will include 3-kilometer climb at a 14 percent gradient at the town of La Glacerie just outside Cherbourg.

The third stage of the Grand Départ will begin at the seaside resort town of Granville, which is also known for the Christian Dior Museum at the fashion designer's childhood home. However, the route will not be revealed until October 2015.

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