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MINI and London Taxis lead peloton and calls for Grand Départ to come to Portsmouth

As the Tour de France prepares to head South from the La Manche region of Normandy following this year’s Grand Départ, premium cross-channel ferry company Brittany Ferries has reasserted its commitment to carry the Tour if the event comes to Portsmouth.

The call comes following Mark Cavendish’s stunning first stage victory, his 27th stage win in total and first opportunity to wear the coveted yellow jersey. Leading Mark and the peloton were a selection of British vehicles taking part in the caravan in the form of MINIs and London Taxis, as Brittany Ferries celebrated its sponsorship of the 2016 Grand Départ.

But the company, which sails to four destinations in Northern France, is not the only party calling for the Grand Départ to start in Portsmouth. Strong representation to government has been made by Portsmouth City Council and enthusiastic support has come from local media sources.

“Brittany Ferries was delighted to partner this year’s Grand Départ which left the Mont St Michel on 2 July, and we very much hope Portsmouth will be the base for the event, perhaps in 2019,” commented Mike Bevens, Brittany Ferries group commercial director. “The popularity of services to Cherbourg, St Malo and Caen this year has demonstrated an appetite for this magnificent event among British cycling fans and we have the space and the ships to return the tour to France after a British debut. We are ready, flexible and we’re all set to support Portsmouth.”

Regular sailings to Cherbourg from Poole and Portsmouth, as well as departures to St Malo and Caen, have been particularly busy during this weekend’s racing. On 3 July, Brittany Ferries’ fast-ferry Normandie Express and Bretagne which sails to St Malo were re-scheduled to provide a full day trip experience as stage two headed for a finale in Cherbourg. Barfleur’s evening departure from Cherbourg to Poole was also extended, demonstrating the flexibility of the company to accommodate the tour and tour fans.

Stages one to three Grand Depart 2016 (see attached map)

  • Stage 1 Saturday 2 July Grand Depart: Mont St Michel to Utah Beach
  • Stage 2 Sunday 3 July Saint Lô to Cherbourg
  • Stage 3 Monday 4 Granville to Angers


About Brittany Ferries

Brittany Ferries is a passenger car and freight service operating from eleven ports, linking four countries: UK – France, UK – Spain and Ireland – France. The company was set up by a collective of French farmers as a freight-only operator, running from Roscoff in Brittany to Plymouth with the first crossing taking place on 1 January 1973, the date the United Kingdom joined the EEC (forerunner to the EU).

The aim then was to bring French agricultural products to a wider British market. However, the service quickly developed into an operation carrying hundreds of thousands of British tourists, eager to experience the delights of Brittany and Normandy. Today Brittany Ferries is the market leader on the Western Channel for passengers and for freight. It is also a leading supplier of ferry-inclusive motoring holidays to France and Spain. Further information can be found by visiting: www.brittanyferries.com.


Christopher Jones on 02392 402 965 or 07917 540 878 or [email protected]

Nigel Wonnacott on 02392 402 943 or 07833 446 729 or [email protected]