Tour de Force 2018 dates: Sat 23rd June – Sun 15th July. All Tour Tasters will fall within these dates.
In February it was announced that the 2018 Grand Depart would return to France (there’s a tradition of switching between a French Grand Depart and a foreign one: 2013 Corsica, 2014 Yorkshire, 2015 Utrecht, 2016 Mont St Michel, 2017 Dusseldorf) – to the Pays de la Loire and the western-central department of Vendée. Just South of Nantes and north of La Rochelle, it’s an area many British holiday-makers will already be familiar with.
As anticipated, the Passage du Gois will be the location of the Grand Depart. A sea causeway, it is entirely covered at high tide, so timing is everything to get our riders across. The route then heads down the coast, but we’re told the winds will really kick in when we start to head inland. Nothing like getting the hang of riding in a new peloton on day 1!
Stage 2 will see some rolls along the way in a region that has been home to sprinters. It remains to be seen if we have any racing snakes among our riders.
Stage 3 is a nice short time trial. To have such an early TT is a gift to our riders who will be ‘broken in’ steadily in 2018. It’s a far cry from the gruelling opening stages of 2016. 2 decent stages followed by a TT will give those newly aching muscles a nice break.
TDF organiser Sarah Perry has this to say:
“The route looks amazing! The first 3 stages are an obvious Tour Taster: 2 full stages plus a time trial in the sun = amazing. This is a particularly beautiful and varied part of France and one the tour organisers will be keen to show off in all its glory. The causeway to start will be one to remember”.
A.S.O. have announced the departure for stage 4 will be La Baule, heading North, but we don’t know the finishing location yet. It’s enough to tell us that the 2018 route is likely to head around France in a clockwise loop and there might be some surprises in store for our riders. Lead cyclist Gareth:
“A clockwise loop is really good news – having the centre west as well as the north west is a big treat, especially if the rumours of dirt roads (of the Tro Bro Leon one day race) are true. Good on ASO for thinking of that! There’s fun to be had for any Strada Bianchi pros or cyclocross specialists”.
Might now be a good time to introduce yourselves to a few cycloscross races in the 2017/18 winter in preparation?
Gareth goes on to say: “the route almost certainly points to a finish in the Pyrenees (after the Alps) which hasn’t happened in a couple of years and will give drama and suspense”.
Yet again, A.S.O. don’t disappoint. 2018 is looking like a really fun tour with loads of variety and plenty of interest.
Rumours for the rest of the route will abound until the full official route release in October 2017. Whatever they throw at us, we’ll be ready to get all the logistics in place so that you can ride either all 21 stages of the epic 2018 Tour de France route (we call these riders ‘Lifers’), or a challenging chunk of it by choosing one of our Tour Tasters.
Are you already planning on joining us in 2018? Sales for 2018 will open on Wednesday 19th July, just 3 days after the 2017 Tour de Force peloton arrives in Paris. ‘Lifer’ places typically sell out very quickly, if not the same day, rapidly followed by the other Tour Tasters. If you haven’t already registered interest for 2018, do so now to ensure that you receive our newsletters and know exactly what you need to do, when, in order to secure your place.