One of the toughest spring races in the UCI Europe Tour calendar, the infamous Tour de Normandie (UCI 2.2) has long been a favourite of the team. Londoner Alex Peters, then of SEG Racing, used his second-place finish in 2015 as a springboard to land a ride with Team Sky last summer. Whilst former Tour de France sprinter Thor Husvord won the race in 2001 and Team Sky’s Luke Rowe finished 5th overall in 2010 helping him gain recognition at world level.
Offering relentless terrain, stiff competition the race is often subject to freezing temperatures and poor weather. John Herety explains it is the perfect proving ground.
“There is no where to hide in Normandy. Difficult conditions bring out our strengths as well as weaknesses. There are few stage races this difficult at this time of year.”
“Normandy will help us remain competitive going into bigger events against world tour teams later on this spring.”
Full of dramatic coastal landscapes, lots of pebbly beaches, Camembert, apples, cider and cream-rich cuisine, Normandy has played host to several Tour de France stages with the local population often in full support of cycling events.
The 42nd edition of the race, features seven stages and skips out on a prologue to begin the race.
Taking place from the 20th to the 26th March, racing begins in Bourg-Achard, travels to the north-eastern tip before tracking west across the region to finish in Caen, resting place of William the Conqueror.
Stage 1 – Bourg-Achard – Gonfreville-l’Orcher -143 km
The opening stage is a hilly affair heading towards the coast with a climb at the finish.
Stage 4 – Le Neubourg – Argentan – 163 km
Today’s stage gives the GC riders a rest to allow the sprinters teams to show their abilities. JLT Condor’s Alex Frame will be on the lookout for a strong finish.
Stage 6 – Fleury-sur-Orne – Ducey-lès-Chéris – 166 km
Allowing a purposeful break to attack the field on the penultimate day could see the yellow jersey change hands. On the longest stage of the race there are plenty of big climbs early on and the final 30km are anything but flat.
Stage 7 – Sourdeval – Caen – 144km
Designed for an explosive sprint finish. The flat run to the line and is the perfect terrain for a bunch kick.
JLT Condor’s history in Normandy
Back in 2014 Tom Moses escaped in the bunch in the final kilometres holding off the sprinters to take the stage win and yellow jersey which he held until the Yorkshireman was involved in a crash on stage six.
In 2011 Graham Briggs snatched several top finishes on the sprint stage of the race.
The squad for 2017 Tour de Normandie