The Tour de France is set to return to Normandy in 2025, a move that, while not entirely unexpected, is being met with great enthusiasm. This return comes nine years after the Grand Depart in Manche and seven years following a brief journey through Eure and Seine-Maritime. The event’s return to Normandy is not officially confirmed for next year, but various hints suggest that at least one stage will take place in the region. This follows the announcement of the 2025 Grand Depart from Lille by Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO).
Caen, a city persistently vying for a spot in the Tour since 2014, is likely to experience the race’s atmosphere again, barring any major changes. The city had hoped for a Grand Depart with Portsmouth in 2015 and a tribute stage in 2024 for the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings. However, it seems more probable now for the city’s millennium celebration.
Aristide Olivier, Caen’s deputy mayor in charge of sports, noted the city’s continuous candidacy, expressing optimism for a positive response someday. The last time the peloton visited Caen was in 2006 for a sprint finish, won by Spain’s Oscar Freire.
The 2025 route could include three days in Calvados. With Caen potentially hosting a start and finish, other cities like Bayeux, Vire, and Lisieux have also applied to be host cities. The region has not seen the Tour since 1956, and the Tour has never stopped in Bayeux. There’s speculation about a time trial along the D-Day beaches, where local cyclist Kévin Vauquelin could shine.
Vire has hosted the Tour before, notably in 2011, and witnessed Italian sprint icon Mario Cipollini’s victory in 1997. There’s also talk of a potential stage in Brittany, possibly finishing at the top of the Cadoudal coast in Morbihan, a legendary cycling location where greats like Hinault, Zabel, and Valverde have triumphed.
An alternative idea involves a stage spanning Calvados from Lisieux to Vire, offering an attractive route featuring Paris – Camembert roads, Suisse Normande, and possibly Mont Pinçon, the department’s highest point.
Regarding Rouen, there were plans for the Tour to pass through in 2022, announced by Hervé Morin in January 2020. However, the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted these plans. Whether Rouen will get a chance in 2025 remains uncertain. The definitive answer is expected in October 2024.