Double Olympic gold medalist, Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), has unveiled the route for the 2013 Wiggle Etape Cymru.
The Welshman lifted the lid on the 88-mile, closed-road route, which starts and finishes at Bangor-on-Dee racecourse on Sunday September 8, 2013.
Thomas, who has ridden many of the route’s key features, including the challenging Horseshoe Pass, is a regular visitor to the area, where his girlfriend lives. Read our interview with Thomas here.
“It’s a challenging route, but it’s a great chance to get out and enjoy the roads,” he said of the Etape Cymru parcours.
“It’s not every day the roads are closed off and members of the public get to ride on them; as [professional] cyclists, we take it for granted.”
Thomas, who won a second gold medal at London 2012 after becoming an Olympic champion for the first time four years earlier in Beijing, advised Etape Cymru participants to enjoy the Welsh rarebit due to be served at the route’s six feed zones.
“A bit of Welsh rarebit always goes down nicely so make the most of that,” he said.
Riders will head north from the Bangor-on-Dee racecourse through rolling landscape to Rhosllanerchrugog.
A climb to the Panorama Walk of Barmouth will offer the riders views of the Vale of LLangollen, and, to the west, an early glimpse of the feature considered the toughest of the entire route: the Horseshoe Pass.
The 6.1km climb, one that includes 317 metres of climbing at gradients reaching 20 per cent, will be timed this year for the first time.
“Make sure you study the route and know what is coming up,” Thomas adivsed. “Also take your time on the tough climbs so you have enough energy to get you to the top.”
A descent from Panorama Walk takes the riders in the direction of Carog – the furthest point from the finish line. A gentle, 10-mile climb leads to the next descent, one that leads the riders to Craig Fechen and the most northerly part of the route.
“At this point it’s important not to try and match the pace of other riders,” said Thomas. “It can be tempting to do this but be careful not to run out of gas with a few miles to go.”
The ascent of The Shelf, the second steepest climb on the route after the Horseshoe Pass, follows. Riders will ascend almost 700 feet in four miles of climbing.
The last of the route’s major climbs, the Worlds End, is approached on a lumpy road from Minera, and takes riders to the highest point of the parcours at 1,410 feet.
A sharp descent will lead them back onto Panorama Walk, a treat for those who enjoyed the views on the outbound route, and to a second drop, this time of some 850-feet, pointing them back towards Bangor.
The ride is backed by online retailer Wiggle, and will raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, and for Nightingale House, a free hospice, serving a wide area from Wrexham, Flintshire and East Denbighshire to Barmouth and the border towns including Oswestry and Whitchurch.
Finishers will receive coconut water from Vita Coco.
Website: Etape Cymru