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Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery

Tour de France to Commemorate First World War

26 March 2014

The 2014 Tour de France cycle race, which officially starts in Leeds on 5 July 2014, is staging three 'etapes' on the former battlefields of the First World War.  

The route will run past historic sites in the Pas de Calais area of France and through Ieper in Belgium as well as many CWGC cemeteries and memorials in the vicinity. It is very likely that this will restrict public access to these sites whilst the Tour de France takes place. 

Click here for the Tour de France itinerary.

We will provide regular updates in advance and during the Tour de France to help you organise and plan your visit.

Three former Tour de France winners - Lucien Petit-Breton, Octave Lapize and Fran├žois Faber - were killed during the First World War, and it is expected that the Tour's organisers will continue to mark the First World War in the future.

The Pas de Calais area was engulfed in heavy fighting throughout the First World War. Many large battles such as the Battle of the Somme, which cost the lives of over 600,000 Commonwealth and 400,000 German lives, took place on either side of the river Somme.

Ieper and its surroundings were the site of some of the heaviest fighting of the Great War. The first battle of Ypres took place in October 1914, while many thousands of soldiers lost their lives at nearby Passchendaele in 1917. Ieper is home to the CWGC's iconic Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial which commemorates over 54,000 officers and men whose graves are not known.