Six reasons to ride the 2017 Velothon Wales sportive - Road Cycling UK

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Six reasons to ride the 2017 Velothon Wales sportive

Looking for a sportive to ride this summer? The closed-road Velothon Wales should be near the top of your list

Velothon Wales returns on Sunday July 9 for the third edition of the closed-road sportive and pro race.

The event has become one of the most popular events on the UK calendar, with some 16,000 riders expected to take the start line of the sportive, which offers 110km and 140km routes.

In fact, it’s one of five Velothon events, with similar rides in Germany, Sweden, Australia and Canada, ensuring this is a global series with a local flavour.

We rode the inaugural edition of the Velothon Wales sportive in 2014 and were impressed by the atmosphere, traffic-free roads, south Wales scenery and tough climbs on an otherwise fast course.

If you’re looking for a challenge this summer, here are five reasons to ride the 2017 Velothon Wales.

Velothon Wales will return on Sunday July 9 (Pic: rb create)

City centre start

Velothon Wales starts in the shadow of the spectacular Cardiff Castle, with the city centre depart adding to the sportive’s unique atmosphere. For one day only, the city of Cardiff is taken over by cyclists.

The end of the sportive, meanwhile, sees riders return to the city centre for a sprint finish on King Edward VII Avenue, alongside Cardiff’s beautiful Alexandra Gardens – a perfect spot to rest weary legs after the ride.

The sportive has a spectacular start next to Cardiff Castle (Pic: rb create)

Closed roads

Velothon Wales is one of only a handful of closed-road sportives in the UK.

Riding a closed road sportive is a memorable day out and something every cyclist should experience. Little can match the feeling of riding with thousands of other cyclists on traffic-free roads.

It’s the closest you’ll get to the full pro rider experience, taking the racing line through corners and zipping along in a peloton along the rolling roads of south Wales.

Something for everyone

Organisers say the Velothon Wales is an inclusive event where people of all ages and abilities can celebrate cycling.

Alongside the full 140km course, a new 110km route has been introduced. While riding more than 100km is no mean feat, the shorter course has only half the climbing of the full route (940m compared to 1,822m) – making it a well-balanced challenge for new cyclists.

Unfortunately, however, the short route is now sold out – so squeeze in a little more extra training and bump yourself up to the 140km course. Entry for the Velothon 140 costs £69.

You can expect spectacular scenery on both routes (Pic: rb create)

Challenging climbs

The full 140km Velothon Wales includes two major climbs: The Tumble and Caerphilly Mountain.

The Tumble comes after approximately 80km. It’s a tough climb – both long and steep – with an average gradient of eight per cent for 4.8km and ramps well into double figures. The climb starts with two hairpins through woodland, before opening up with spectacular views over the surrounding countryside.

Caerphilly Mountain features on both routes and is a shorter, steeper affair. You’ll face the climb after about 125km on the long course and after 105km on the short route – so save something for the end! You’ll face an average gradient of nine per cent for 1.4km – but the top section approaches 20 per cent. From there you have a fast run-in to Cardiff.

However, while Velothon Wales presents two tough climbing challenges, it’s otherwise a fast course with predominantly flat or rolling roads. You can expect to see a high average speed, helped by the closed roads and number of riders to share the work.

There are two major climbs on the 140km route: The Tumble and Caerphilly Mountain (Pic: rb create)

Watch the pro race

The sportive on Sunday July 9 is followed by the Velothon pro race, so once you’ve collected your finisher’s medal, you can find a spot on the iconic King Edward VII Avenue to watch the final sprint for victory.

The first edition of Velothon Wales was won by Martin Mortensen (Cult Energy Pro Cycling), while Tom Stewart (Madison Genesis) triumphed last year. Who will win the 2017 edition?

Martin Mortensen won the inaugural Velothon Wales pro race in 2015 (Pic: rb create)

Win a VIP day out

On top of all that, Velothon Wales are offering the chance for two riders to win a VIP day out.

Prize one:  Full VIP Supporter Experience for your team of four supporters – they’ll be with you at the starting blocks, be exclusively chauffeured on course to cheer you up the Tumble and Caerphilly, and be waiting for you with your medal at the finish line before you join them in the VIP hospitality zone for the rest of the day.

Prize two:  VIP Pro Experience – you and one of your supporters will have the best seats in the house as we give you exclusive access to the lead car on the Velothon Wales pro race.  Watch all the action as close as you can ever get before you head back to the VIP hospitality zone to experience the highlight of the day:  you and your supporter will be handing over the pro race prizes.

Enter the Velothon Wales 140km ride by Sunday June 25 to stand a chance to win one of these two prizes.

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