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Page last updated at 16:33 GMT, Tuesday, 2 February 2010
French cyclists will be in Jersey for Tour de Bretagne
Tour de Bretagne cyclist
Hundreds of French cyclists will be in the island for the Tour de Bretagne

At the end of April the island will play host to hundreds of cyclists as Gorey turns French for a weekend.

Jersey will host the first two days of the Tour de Bretagne, the first time a full leg of the event has taken place outside France in its history.

Mike Tait from Jersey Tourism said the parishes and honorary police pulled together to make this event possible.

An experimental prologue race took place in 2007 when cyclists came to Jersey for a short run.

The leg will take place in the island on 24 April and a 400 strong contingent will travel from St Malo to Jersey, ready to cycle.

The event will see 22 teams race a 150km route in the Eastern parishes, followed the next day by a 10km time trial along the five mile road.

The 150km route will see the teams start and finish in Gorey, going through a 15km route 10 times.

The Gendarmerie will be in the island for the event

Mike Tait from Jersey Tourism has been working with the Tour organisers to bring the race back to the island and said the plan was to turn Gorey into a festival on the Sunday afternoon.

"We are looking to animate Gorey during the afternoon and turn it into a real cycling festival," said Mike.

The President of Brittany had to give his permission for the prestigious Tour de Bretagne to leave French shores.

The race has visited Jersey before, back in 2007, but that was only for an experimental short prologue run.

That was so successful that cycling World Champion and five times Tour Winner Bernard Hinault endorsed Jersey for its great appeal to cycling enthusiasts.

"It is a coup for the island, after the 2007 event there was a real notion, wouldn't it be great if they came back.

"The event is highly sought after in many of the towns and villages in Brittany so it wasn't a given.

"The President of Brittany owns the brand, Tour de Bretagne and he sanctioned the race to come back and has actually said he would like to use the opportunity, through sport, to open closer links with the island," said Mike.

The race will be escorted by the motorcade of the President of France, the only other race to include the motorcade is the Tour de France.

But Mike Tait said that this was done for more than just show, it was also about the safety of the cyclists.

The race will start and finish in Gorey

"It is not only for show, this is for safety. These gentlemen are highly versed in moving the peloton around, sometimes at 60, 70km and hour.

"It is a double edged thing in terms of it being highly prestigious but also a safety matter," said Mike.

He said that the island will benefit in a number of ways from hosting an event like this.

"We've already done very well from it, each year since 2007 we've had a press car decked out in the logos and branding of Jersey.

"We've enjoyed very significant amounts of exposure within the French community and the race itself will deliver some 400 people over two nights.

"I think in terms of the longer context of this, we have the town criterion which is taking place six weeks later.

"The island is able to use such a prestigious event as this to communicate to people who might not know us so well that this is a vibrant place to come to.

"Certainly British cycling is growing in stature, it is almost the flavour of the month with successes in Beijing, the Olympics and indeed the Tour de France recently," said Mike.

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Chris, Trinity

Assuming that the route is going through Grouville,it seems rather ironic considering the Parish Constable banned cycling club runs through the parish a few years back...

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