Start your summer of cycling with a bang with one of these events
Summer is almost upon us which means sportive season is now in full swing – and there are plenty of top events to choose from in June.
After putting in the miles through winter, with long sessions on the turbo, and wind and rain-battered training rides, it’s time to put that fitness to good use.
We’ve picked nine of the best UK sportives to ride in June, from European-style gran fondos to night rides; climb-laden epics to vintage events.
What are you waiting for? Get signed up and start your summer in style.
Saturday June 4 to Sunday June 5 – Tour of Cambridgeshire
The Tour of Cambridgeshire launched last year, promising to bring the authentic European-style gran fondo experience to British shores.
But what does that mean? Fully closed roads, a race at the front – with prizes and places at the UCI Amateur World Championships up for grabs – and a sportive for the rest of the riders. Oh, and there’s a UCI Chrono time trial, too.
Centered on the Peterborough Arena and Showground, the 26.5km time trial takes place on the Saturday before the gran fondo – which will see up to 8,000 riders take part – on the Sunday.
The gran fondo route covers 129km, while there’s also an alternative ‘leisure’ route covering 93km. Both rides take place on fast, flat – but often windy – roads.
Part of the UCI Gran Fondo World Series, the Tour of Cambridgeshire was deemed a resounding success after 6,000 riders took part in last summer’s inaugural event.
One of the UK’s most iconic sportives, the Dragon Ride returns for its 13th year in 2016 and is now supported by ASO as L’Etape Wales.
Christian Prudhomme, the Tour de France director, said the south Wales sportive, which starts from Port Talbot’s Margram Park, has a route ‘reminiscent of one of the Tour de France’s most magnificent stages’.
The 230km Gran Fondo routes takes in 3,616m of climbing while the Medio Fondo packs 2,405m of ascent into 153km. There’s also a 100km ride in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.
The Rhigos, Black Mountain and Devil’s Elbow climbs all feature, while the epic 305km Dragon Devil route also includes Devil’s Staircase, with a 15 per cent average gradient and pitches far steeper. Makes no bones about it, whatever route you choose the Dragon Ride is a tough but rewarding day out.
Saturday June 11 to Sunday June 12 – Chase the Rising Sun
Fancy something a little different? The Chase the Rising Sun sportive offers exactly that – a 100-mile night ride between the RNLI stations at Hunstanton and Southwold in East Anglia.
Setting off at sunset, the coastal route heads through Wells, Blakeney, Sheringham, Cromer and Bacton-on-Sea for the feed stop.
Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft are covered off in the second half of the ride, with the challenge to reach the finish line before sunrise at approximately 4.30am.
Regardless of finishing time, however, there are medals for all riders and catering provided by Dan’s Gourmet Kitchen and Castro’s Coffee.
The event itself costs £35 (though transport back will need to be arranged as bus transfers are sold out) and you can also get discounts on Exposure lights with entry.
Route: 100 miles
Price: £35 (event only); £109.91 (event + Exposure Trace and TraceR light set); £249.99 (event + Exposure Strada Mk6 front light)
Website: Cycle Sportives UK
Sunday June 12 – Etape Eryri
Another gruelling Welsh sportive in June, the Etape Eryri is focussed on Snowdonia in north Wales and has been given the stamp of approval from Team Sky supremo Sir Dave Brailsford.
The event has three routes on offer in all: the 47-mile Bach, 76-mile Canol and 103-mile Mawr – or you can ride all three on the Etape Xtrem, covering 226 miles in all.
Starting and finishing at Caernarfon Castle, all three routes are set against the stunning backdrop of Snowdonia National Park and the Canol and Mawr routes include ‘the wall’ among other beautiful but challenging climbs.
Friday June 17 to Sunday June 19 – Eroica Britannia
The famous L’Eroica ride celebrates its 20th year in 2016, and Britain’s own take on the vintage event has been around since 2014.
Centred on Derbyshire’s Bakewell Showground, Eroica Britannia is more than just a ride with a three-day festival – with “vintage sales, lifestyle finds, bike brands and the world’s biggest bike jumble,” as well as a ‘swing night’ and ‘best in show’ vintage fancy-dress competition – set for the weekend.
The ride itself takes place on Sunday June 19 and sets the challenge of riding a pre-1987 road bike (and pre-1987 garb, if you want to go full Eroica) on a choice of 30, 55 or 100-mile routes in the Peak District.
Routes: 30 miles, 55 miles, 100 miles
Price: £60 (includes three-day festival pass, £45 for concessions)
Website: Eroica Britannia
Saturday June 18 – Virgin Money Cyclone
Another long-standing fixture of the UK sportive calendar, the Virgin Money Cyclone will celebrate its tenth edition on Saturday June 18.
Four different routes (106, 90, 64 and 34 miles) make up the challenge, all passing through the scenic and quiet Northumbrian countryside the day before the pros tackle the route for the Beaumont Trophy and Curlew Cup.
The longest route features 2,374m of climbing in all, with eight significant hills to tackle including Troughend Common and the Ryals – the latter being the scene of Team Sky’s race-defining attack at the 2011 National Championships.
With three routes on offer, organisers bill the Chiltern Classic as a great mid-season test.
The Chiltern Hills ensure there’s plenty of climbing action, with the longest route (100 miles) including 5,255ft of elevation, coming from a succession of short but often steep ascents.
All routes depart from Adams Park in Wycombe, with 80-mile 45-mile options also available.
All under-16s ride free, too, as long as they are accompanied by a full-paying adult and have valid ID.
Routes: 100 miles, 80 miles, 45 miles
Price: £35 (epic, standard); £26 (short)
Website: UK Cycling Events
Saturday June 25 – Stockton Sportive
This year’s British National Championships are heading to Teesside, where the latest riders to pull on the blue, white and red-striped jerseys will be crowned.
And as part of the action, the Stockton Sportive – formerly known as the Endeavour – allows you to ride on the route before the pros fight it out to become national champion.
Four different rides of vastly different profiles are on offer, with the mostly-flat Spin a 59km family-friendly route and the 80km Sport on offer for those looking for longer distance and more climbing.
For more serious riders, the 116km Challenge heads towards the North Yorks Moors and Blakey Ridge, while Le Tour de Moor is the showpiece route – also featuring the punishingly steep Rosedale Chimney ascent as part of the 170km course.
Routes: 59km, 80km, 116km, 170km
Price: £15 (Spin); £20 (Sport); £25 (Challenge, Le Tour de Moor)
Website: Velo29 Events
Sunday June 26 – London Cycle Sportive
The Telegraph London Cycle Sportive powered by Maserati celebrates London’s Olympic cycling heritage with a finish at the Herne Hill velodrome, venue for track cycling at the 1948 Games.
Starting at Dulwich Park, the route heads out the Surrey Hills and takes on Box Hill – the key battleground on the London 2012 road race routes – before returning for a finishing lap on Herne Hill’s banking.
Three routes are available: the 48km short houte , which doesn’t include Box Hill; the 104km medium route; and, for those targeting a century, a 166km long route which includes 1,098m of climbing.
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