Over 3000 cyclists are expected to descend onto the picturesque roads of the Scottish highlands when Britain’s only closed-road cycle challenge - the Étape Caledonia - returns for a second running on Sunday 18th May 2008.

The Etape Caledonia was launched in June 2007 as the first, and currently only, cycle event in the whole of the United Kingdom to take place on roads that have been closed specifically for the event.

After the great success of the inaugural race in 2007, when over a thousand riders took part in the 83-mile course around the stunning highlands of Perthshire, the race was recognised in The Independent Newspaper’s 50 Best Rides in the UK.

Back again are event sponsors Adidas, and joining them for 2008 is The Independent, while the official charities are Action Medical Research and Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres.

The Étape Caledonia offers ordinary cyclists the chance to race on closed roads in safety, and provides a stern but achievable challenge through some breathtaking Scottish scenery.

This year the 81-mile course will start and finish at Pitlochry, winding around Loch Rannoch and Loch Tummel, with a total ascent of 1,949m.

Étape Caledonia is open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 80, and costs just £49 to enter - the same fee as last year.

Kevin Stuart, of event organisers IMG, is hoping for even more entrants this year, saying: “We had nearly 2000 cyclists last year and we are anticipating that number increasing to 3000 this year. This is a unique cycling event and a great chance for people of all levels to experience a challenge in safety and in one of the UK’s most stunning regions."

Last year’s quickest finisher, Ed Woodhouse, added: “I have done several sportive rides in France, such as the famous L’Étape du Tour, and this event is just as good."

The main differences from 2007 are:

  • 81 miles instead of 83
  • Minimum speed will be 13mph instead of 12mph
  • Global support group Mavic are on board to help stricken riders back on their bikes - creating a Tour-like event
  • More riders than last year (1500)with over 3000 expected

    Entries and further information are online at www.etapecaledonia.co.uk

  • email info@etapecaledonia.co.uk