Mont-Saint-Michel will host the Tour de France 2016 Grand Depart as organisers announce details of the first two stages
Rolling out on Saturday July 2, the peloton will depart Mont-Saint-Michel, the finishing point of the stage 11 time trial in 2013, before heading north to Utah Beach, one of the D-Day landing beaches in 1944.
While the pan-flat parcours will appeal to the sprinters on stage one, the ASO warn that the mainly coastal routes could expose the riders to gusts of wind that could disrupt the peloton.
Jean-François Le Grand, President of the Manche General Council said: “It was written that the history of cycling, the Tour de France and the Manche would one day converge. We are proud to offer cycling a sumptuous setting, to promise the Tour de France a warm and passionate welcome and to offer the Manche all the glory it deserves. The coming together of the three during the 2016 start will be magic.”
Stage two will depart from Saint-Lô heading west towards Coutances before turning north again to its finishing desination of Charbourg-Octeville. With a three kilometre ascent towards the end of the stage, with a section at 14 per cent, organisers hope the General Classification contenders will make themselves known early in the race.
It will be the first Grand Depart to be held in mainland France since 2011, when Philippe Gilbert took the opening stage from Passage du Gois to Mont des Alouettes.
The full route of the 2016 Tour will be revealed on October 20, 2015.