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History of the Tour des Trois Vallees

In 1971 Neville Chanin met the President of Cyclo Club Dieppois (Lucien Van Ceunebroek) at a cycle rally on the Isle Of Wight. Lucien talked of holding a randonnee in Dieppe the following year and urged Neville to visit with some friends. So, in 1972 the first Tour de Trois Vallees was organised. The birth of what has come to be a long friendship. Neville requested riders bring a packet of tea with them during the early years as Lucien loved English tea. Lucien would meet us at the port with a big bag for the tea. When Lucien died in 1985, Jean-Claude Martin became president and has been involved in the organisation of this event ever since.


There was only 1 event for the first few years – 200k. Neville entered the 200km with his 4 friends from England. As the number of participants increased, by the late 70’s, it was necessary to introduce a 140k ride as some riders found 200k too far. Since then, more rides have been established to cater for families, young children, MTB and a walk is now available for non-cyclists.


The number of participants increased from 5 the first year to 211 in 1989. After 22 years of Neville organising the Tour for the British participants, Paul Coan took up the reins for 10 years, Caroline Street ran the event after Paul until 2023. 


Accommodation has changed over the years. In the early days, all participants stayed at the Youth Hostel at the top of the hill. As numbers increased, the Youth Hostel became less popular and now many people stay at the Windsor or find Hotel accommodation of their choice. 

Neville Chanin - "The Legend"

In 1972 Neville Chanin organised the first Tour des Trois Vallees in Dieppe as a commemoration to the allies' losses during the Dieppe Raid in 1942.

Chanin was born in Croydon in 1935. He moved to Butterrow, Stroud, in 1976 and lived there until his death in April 2010. He rode more than a million kilometres (643,434 miles) on cycle tours in Britain, Europe and around the world. His name is well known in cycling circles nationally and internationally. The display in the Museum's Collectors' Room displayed a selection of the documents, photographs, trophies and other objects donated to the museum following his death.


Chanin was a talented and successful cross country and distance runner, but in 1948 he saw Reg Harris, British Cycling Sprint Champion, competing in the London Olympic Games. It sparked an enthusiasm for cycling, which became a lifelong passion. He went to Paris to see the finish of the Tour de France in 1957. Each summer for the next fifty years he arranged a cycling holiday to watch the Tour and cycle part of route, including some of the toughest mountain stages. He was known throughout Europe, especially in his beloved France, where he was on first name terms with the Tour de France organisers as well as those responsible for Audax rides.  He visited the Tour on over 50 occasions as well as the Giro and the Vuelta and many of the one day classics. 


In 1960 he organised more than forty annual tours to more remote destinations, including the Middle East, Cuba, North, Central and South America, the Far East, Australia and New Zealand. 

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