Cycling: Tour de France to start at Mont Saint-Michel in 2016

The pack rides past Mont Saint-Michel during the 2011 Tour de France. The tidal island will be the...

The pack rides past Mont Saint-Michel during the 2011 Tour de France. The tidal island will be the starting point of the 2016 race. (AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE)


, Last Updated: 10:26 AM ET

Tour de France organisers revealed on Tuesday that the 2016 edition of the Grand Boucle will start at the UNESCO world heritage site of Mont Saint-Michel.

Two weeks ago, Tour organisers ASO revealed the 2016 edition would start in the Manche department in Normandy, so named after the French term for the English Channel that separates the country from Britain.

And at a press conference on Tuesday, the exact start town was revealed with the most prestigious cycle race in the world departing from Mont Saint-Michel, famous for its hill-top island abbey, on July 2.

The first stage, which should favour sprinters, will cover 188km and finish at Utah Beach, one of five sites made famous during the Allied Normandy landings in 1944, during World War II.

The second stage will cover another 182km from Saint-Lo to Cherbourg, remaining within the Manche department of Lower Normandy.

A hilly finish, comprising a passage with a brutal 14 percent gradient, should give 'punchers' a chance to shake up the overall standings.

The only other detail revealed by ASO was that the third stage will begin in Granville, also in Manche, which is hosting the 'Grand Depart' for the very first time.

"Manche is a beautiful department with breathtaking landscapes," said Tour director Christian Prudhomme.

The full Tour course for 2016 will be divulged on October 20, 2015.

Mont Saint-Michel has twice before hosted a Tour stage finish, most recently in 2013 when three-time world timetrial champion Tony Martin won a race against the clock as Chris Froome cemented his grip on the yellow jersey.

The previous time was in 1990 when Belgian former world champion Johan Museew triumphed.

The 2015 Tour begins in Utrecht in the Netherlands on July 4.