More than one thousand riders took part in Britain’s first closed-road sportive cycling event, the ‘Etape Caledonia’, on Sunday 24 June in Pitlochry, Perthshire. The 134 kilometre route took in some of Scotland’s most stunning cycling areas include Lochs Rannoch and Tummel.
Fastest to complete the event, started by twice world cycling champion, Tony Doyle, was 28 year-old Edward Woodhouse from London in a time of 3 hours 48 minutes and 15 seconds. The first female rider, Catriona Phin, from Stirling triathlon club, finished a little over a minute behind in a time of 3 hours 49 minutes and 54 seconds.
Edward Woodhouse commented: “It was a fantastic ride. I managed to get in a big group of riders at the start. I have done several sportive rides in France such as the famous Etape du Tour and this event is just as good. My next challenge will be on the 7th July when I take on the challenge of the Marmotte, one of the largest cyclosportive events in France.”
The man who dreamt up the event, race director Kevin Stewart from IMG said: “We’ve had great co-operation from the local authority, Perth and Kinross Council, which has allowed us to ride on closed roads. With a positive response from many residents who have embraced the event knowing how positive an event like this can be for the area’s economy and reputation, I am really looking forward to planning this event next year.”
The event helped to raise money for two official charities: Maggie’s Cancer Care Centres and Action Medical Research. Director of fundraising for Action Medical Research, Lewis Coghlin, said: “This is a fantastic event that gives cyclists of varying ability the chance to compete on closed roads in the picturesque heart of Scotland. We are delighted that the event will raise in the region of £20,000.”
The event was supported by The Scottish Co-Op, who provided bananas, water and cereal bars at feed stations. Scottish Co-op chief officer Ken Mackenzie said: “Scottish Co-op is committed to community-focused activities which promote healthy living, which is why we are delighted to be sponsoring Etape Caledonia.
“To ensure the cyclists have enough fuel to complete their challenge, the Pitlochry store is donating 4,000 bottles of Co-op water, 1,500 bananas and 750 Fairtrade cereal bars. We are also pleased to donate £250 to help clear up after the event in order to keep Pitlochry clean and tidy.”