Normandy has long played an outsized role in European history from D-Day landings to the Norman invasion of England. Home to the spectacular island monastery of Mont St-Michel and the Bayeux Tapestry, world-famous for its cartoon scenes of 11th-century life. In recent years, its annual cycle race, the Tour de Normandie has been a firm fixture in JLT Condor’s race programme.
The seven day battle for yellow around a variety of dramatic coastal landscapes is a tough affair. Passing through medieval old city of Rouen and quiet cobbled pastoral villages.
The race has been a spring board for young riders to display their talents, the first edition ran in 1939, . Looking back at previous jersey winners most have gone on to ride a grand tour in their careers including Thor Husvord, Stefan Kung and Jerome Pineau.
Taking place from the 23-29th March the weather plays a major factor in determining the racing, Tom Moses was able to capitalise on the harsh elements in 2014 when he launched a solo attack in the pouring rain. He won the stage and finished 17 seconds clear of the galloping pack, enabling him to pull on the yellow jersey. Watch the dramatic victory here.
The UCI 2.2 stage race will see JLT-Condor riders go head to head with other World Tour squads keen to push their young riders including BMC, Astana, Lotto-Belisol, Katusha and Etixx.
Prologue – 23rd March – Saint Lo – 3.6 km
The race begins with a spectator-friendly 3.6 kilometre time trial in Saint-Lo. The rolling course doesn’t feature any major ascents. Competitors should expect to complete the course in just over 5 minutes.
Stage 1 – 24th March – Colombelles – Forges-les-Eaux – 207km
Racing heads to the most westerly part of the region via a few bumps. It is likely that a breakaway will form early in the day but be brought back in time for the sprinters to have their say. The new finish into the town of Forges Les Eaux means that things might not go to plan for the fast men of the peloton.
Stage 2 – 25th March – Duclair – Elbeuf-sur-Seine – 166.5km
Stage 2 begins at the waters edge in the town of Dunclair and weaves along the river Seine, with water part of the parcours the threat of cross winds are present and could cause the race to split. Riders will need to keep on their toes to ensure they don’t get caught out.
Two sharp climbs feature towards the end of the day before the pack will descend into Elbeuf-sur-Seine for the finish.
Stage 3- 26th March – Elbeuf-sur-Seine – Argentan – 162.5km
The third stage is often the most decisive in the week of racing in Normandie. The 162km stage features a 900m long 14% killer climb and if the wind is strong, the race selection will be even more brutal. The stage concludes with three laps Argentan
Stage 4 – 27th March – L’Aigle – Bagnoles-de-lOrne – 168km
Another decisive stage, the three climbs through the Ecouves forest is the perfect place for attacks to wrangle free of the peloton and make a bid for victory. If the escapees can out run the peloton, the jersey could change hands.
Stage 5 – 28th March – Carentan – Martinvast – 170km
Today’s stage remains flat for most of the day before ramping up at the end. A sneaky solo attack in the closing kilometres could be a way to secure victory and foil the sprinters teams.
Stage 6th – 29th March – Torigni-sur-Vire – Caen – 155km
The weeks racing ends with a mostly flat stage into Caen. Founded by William the Conqueror, Caen is the capital of the Basse Norandie region. The town offers visitors a walled medieval château and two ancient abbys.The day begins with a climb and there are a few bumps along the way but the final day looks set for a bunch sprint to the finish.