With the 2017 Grand Depart from Dusseldorf, the first stages of the Tour de France route took us into Belgium, through Luxembourg and into France.
Despite some cold and rainy days, morale remained high and it quickly became apparent that this was going to be a particularly special year of camaraderie. We also had our first riders vlogging on tour – an impressive effort at the end of long days on the bike and a really fun record of the tour.
The weather significantly improved in week 2 as we approached the northern Alps, then crisscrossed the country – glorious rides in the fabulous sunshine with sunflower fields aplenty (so much happier than the endless wheatfields in the North). The Pyrenees were wild and savage but the weather largely held right into the Alps, giving us incredible views on the iconic Galibier climb. As we rolled down towards the Mediterranean, there was a real sense of achievement and satisfaction in the peloton. An ‘ice cream’ time trial on stage 20 in Marseille gave the riders a chance to savour their achievement before the TGV transfer back up to Paris for the final glory ride into Paris.
Once more we were joined by 2 UK charities on tour, with Josh and Julian from Chaos Theory and Dequane and Martin from Westminster House Youth Club. They impressively tackled a stage of the tour with us and talked to the group in the evenings, helping our riders understand just how valuable their fundraising efforts are too young people. Our fundraising tally for 2017 was a truly fantastic £388,000 pounds, taking us well over the £3 million mark raised by the Tour de Force to date.
And finally, we woke up in Paris on Monday morning to a new and exciting chapter in our story. With the formal approval of the official Tour de France, we have rebranded the tour to Le Loop. (named after La Grand Boucle – the big loop – as the French like to call the Tour de France). Read all about it here. We’re also thrilled to welcome a new lead cyclist for the 2018 tour – Emily Chappell. Ex-cycle courier, Transcontinental Race winner and Director of The Adventure Syndicate, Emily has a huge amount of experience to bring to the Tour with her calm determination and genuine empathy. Our 2018 riders are in safe and inspirational hands.
Vive Le Tour!