The inaugural route for the closed-roads Etape Pennines sportive has been announced, with the 78-mile course set to feature 1,648m of climbing in north east England.
The Etape Pennines will take place on October 7 2012 and is organised by IMG Challenger, the company behind the successful Etape Caledonia and Etape Hibernia events in Scotland and Ireland respectively.
The Pennines route will start at Ushaw College, near Durham, and head south towards Witton Park, host to the first of seven categorised climbs, before turning west through the rolling countryside in Middleton-in-Teesdale. Following a quick descent, its north again via St John’s Chapel to Blanchland before east back through Castleside to the finish at Ushaw College.
The event is England’s first closed-roads sportive but, in order to maintain the traffic-free environment, the route will have to cross several main arterial roads. At these points specially trained marshals will operate crossing points for the duration of the event, stopping vehicle traffic and cyclists in turn to make safe crossing possible. Timing mats will be on each side of these crossings so riders times will not be penalised if there is any delay.
“We are really pleased and excited to be bringing the first-closed road sportive in England to County Durham as the course has been designed to offer riders a challenging and rewarding ride in the stunning countryside of the north east,” said IMG Challenger managing director James Robinson.
“Rider safety and enjoyment is paramount at all times and to this end we have been working with the police and Durham County Council to ensure a traffic free-route for the entire event. We will be working very hard over the next 11 months to make sure the first closed-road sportive in England will be every bit as successful as its sister event – the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Caledonia.”
Entry costs £61. Head to www.etapepennines.co.uk for more information.