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Cyclists Can't Ignore the 2017 Grand Départ Classic for Prostate Cancer UK

by Holly Blades

You couldn't ignore Mark Cavendish in this year's Tour de France, and having paved the way for the Manx Missile in Normandy this month, riders can help set the scene in 2017 as Prostate Cancer UK's Grand Départ Classic heads into Germany.

June's inaugural event saw a field of 75 exclusively sample all 190km of the first stage of the 2016 race, a full eight days before the likes of reigning champion Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana and Geraint Thomas saddled up for the world's greatest cycling stage race. The peloton helped raise more than £70,000.


And with the 2017 race heading into Germany for the first time in 30 years, the leading men's charity will again give riders a once in a lifetime experience a week before the professionals - while at the same time stopping prostate cancer becoming a killer.

Next year the 104th edition of Le Tour will kick off outside France for the 22nd time, and fourth in Germany, and while organisers have reverted back to an individual Time Trial on the opening day next year, the Prostate Cancer UK peloton will replicate the opening road stage in Düsseldorf. After overwhelming demand last year 200 places are up for grabs.

Riders will roll out from from the Burgplatz (Castle Square) in the heart of Düsseldorf along the harbour. Pedalling on the east side of the city on Kaiserstrasse and continuing to travel east through Erkrath and the Neader Valley, the peloton will head north towards Mettmann and then west back through Düsseldorf. Approximately 50km of the route will have been completed at this point.


The remaining part of the route will be announced in October, and it is expected to continue to travel west and finish in Belgium, again totalling approximately 190km. As is tradition the opening stage will be relatively flat.

As part of an exciting four-day package, riders will converge on London on 22 June before taking the Eurostar to Brussels and then an onward coach into Germany.

Riders will set off from Düsseldorf at 7am Saturday, June 24th, for their unforgettable day in the saddle before heading back to London the following day.
The picturesque route will be fully signposted with feed stations and mechanical and medical support. Each rider will also be able to represent Men United by wearing a specially-designed Prostate Cancer UK riding top, and to celebrate the authentic flavour of Le Tour, there will also be four iconic jerseys up for grabs.

The yellow jersey will honour the top fundraiser, the polka dot attire will go on the rider that raises the most 10 weeks before the event and the green is for the fastest to reach the minimum £1,000 sponsorship. Youth is the key for the white jersey, just like in Le Tour, with the youngest top fundraiser under the age of 35 pulling on that coloured jersey.


Llandudno's Gary Evans, diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in February 2015, took this year's 'Maillot Jaune' after raising more than £3,700 while France-based Kristy Speller, riding in memory of her late father, raised more than £2,000 and opted for the polka dot shirt. 

Trevor Coxon, from Wrexham, and also diagnosed with the disease in 2015, was rewarded for his speedy fundraising with the green jersey and youngster Gary Barton, from Milton Keynes, completed the set by riding in white. There were many other riders affected by prostate cancer among the field, raising vital funds and awareness.

Head of Events for Prostate Cancer UK Andy Sallnow said: "2017 will be our second Grand Départ Classic, which we created to give our supporters a glimpse of the professional Tour de France experience, and soak up the magic of one of the biggest sporting events on the planet.

"We're inviting riders to push their limits to save men's lives, and the flat route means that even those new to the sport will be able to complete the 190km distance with the right amount of training. 

"One man dies every hour of prostate cancer in the UK, which is why the funds raised are so crucial. We can't wait to see the Men United peloton roll past the same iconic landmarks, on the same roads as the professionals who will be speeding through just over a week later."


There are 200 places available for what is a cycling adventure of a lifetime. After paying a £149 non-refundable registration fee, there is a £1,100 minimum sponsorship fee, while riders can also pay their own tour costs (£149 registration fee and trip costs of £650) and set their own sponsorship targets.

To register your interest in saddling up for this exclusive event, and for more details on the ride visit GrandDepartClassic.org.uk, call 0203 310 7034 or email cycling@prostatecanceruk.org.

Many people are unaware that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. It's a huge issue that cannot be ignored. In 2016 one man an hour will die from prostate cancer in the UK. That's 10,900 men this year. Based on current trends, if we ignore prostate cancer and do nothing, this number will rise to over 14,500 men a year by 2026. People are urged to search Men United and join the fight. 

Image Credits - Sarah Lines





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