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 François 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
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.