Organisers of the Etape Cymru have unveiled a revamped route, including a new start/finish, in response to rider feedback received after the inaugural event in 2011.
Last year’s edition of the closed roads sportive came under fire after riders experienced overcrowded roads early on the 92-mile route but the organisers have moved the start to Bangor-on-Dee racecourse, south east of Wrexham, in a bid to spread out riders from the outset, before the route heads into rural north Wales.
The sportive on Sunday September 9 will pass by the villages of Llangollen, Carrog, and Minera, and takes in a host of the toughest climbs in the Clwydian range, including Panorama and The Shelf, while the exposed climb up World’s End towards the end of the course will provide a tough test on the home leg.
The Horseshoe Pass also returns for 2012, with riders having the opportunity to measure their climbing prowess against Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas. The Etape Cymru ambassador, who is currently riding the Giro d’Italia in preparation for the Olympic Games, recorded a time of 14 minutes and 22 second in training on the Horseshoe Pass last year.
“The Etape Cymru is one of the toughest closed road events in Britain and as a proud Welshman I am delighted to support it,” said Thomas. “The 92-mile route offers cyclists a challenging but fabulous opportunity to enjoy our spectacular Welsh scenery in the safety of a closed road environment.”
Chris Boardman, who used the Horseshoe Pass climb in training throughout his career, added: “The Horseshoe Pass and the surrounding area are just stunning places to ride a bike. Being fairly local, I’ve used the Horseshoe Pass throughout my career and it’s a real test of the form. It’s a tough climb that just keeps on going but the views from the top are worth it.”
Entry costs £55. Head to www.etape-cymru.co.uk for more information.