2023 FULL ROUTE OVERVIEW
Following the very best and off-beat cycling routes each nation has to offer, the race places emphasis on cultural identity and historic locations unique to Celtic heritage.
The 4th edition of sees us head over to continental Europe to visit Brittany. Home to our Breton cousins, the 2023 PCR starts in the granite-walled port town of St Malo. Named after a Welsh monk who cofounded the town in the 5th century and who later achieved sainthood, the city of Saint-Malo later became notorious as being the stronghold of the Corsairs. These privateers, who were state sponsored pirates, added massively to the wealth and fortunes of St Malo and helped develop the city into the fortress it is now.
Rolling out from here on the morning of 2nd July, the route will take our Riders along scenic back lanes and coast-hugging roads before turning southwards. Picking up abandoned roads and former trainlines, which have been re-purposed into long and winding cycle paths, the first major population centre we hit is Fougères, a favourite of the Paris-Brest-Paris.
Passing quickly through, our itinerary brings us to the ancient city of Rennes, once the capital of Brittany. Stunning architecture dating back hundreds of years and known for being “…the most liveable place in France”, it will be worth stepping off the bike for a few moments and soaking up some of the sights and sounds.
We then head west towards the coast, rolling past Carnac and its countless menhirs and tumuli and arrive at the beautiful seaside resort of Quiberon. A trip along some of the most beautiful roads in Europe, the route heads inland once more and gives our Clan a true taste of Breton culture with the countless small villages and rural landscapes we pass through.
A rich and flowing route of viaduct crossings, promenades, peninsulas, single track hardpack, forests, lakes and much more, will bring our Riders to the UNESCO heritage site, Mont St Michel. From here, a brief sprint takes us to the Normandy landings and the beaches where countless lives were lost during D-Day alone. A moment of reflection and a thanks to those who gave their lives, will linger in the mind as we traverse the coastline and head to Ouistreham – our gateway to the UK.
Arriving in Portsmouth, we head off on a quick tour of the South Downs and then up into the Celtic stronghold – Wales. Here the route tracks the ancient King Offa’s dike, built to keep the raucous Welsh in place, before once more taking in the famed lap of the Great Orme and finish in Llandudno.
The stunning route has an overall race distance of 1,425 miles / 2293km, with 72,910 ft / 22,223 m of elevation gain.
There is 1 ferry crossing on the route, giving riders time to relax and reflect on their adventure so far: Ouistreham – Portsmouth
PLEASE NOTE – The route has been thoroughly scoped out, recce’d and risk assessed. However, we reserve the right for updates or amendments to be made if this becomes necessary. In effect, the route is a “living” track and we will make changes (on the grounds of safety) if we become aware of the need to do so.
Despite all of the research, planning and consultation, we recognise that local knowledge often trumps all, so if you have any feedback, please let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the coming weeks, we will add the detailed route files and map, so that you can start planning, strategizing and in-depth analysis of the entire route.
ROUTE & RIDER INSPIRATION
Below are photos illustrating some of the 2022 route highlights. Please click on them for full views.