Rob Hayles joined two thousands riders on the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennies sportive on Sunday.
The event, dubbed ‘the toughest closed road sportive in Great Britain’ by the organisers, packed 2,313m of climbing into the 78-mile route.
Hayles retired in 2011 after a long professional career which saw him twice crowned world champion on the track and the 39-year-old got back in the saddle for the inaugural sportive.
“A lot of that ride backed up my choice to retire,” joked Hayles. “But I can’t deny there were many moments that made me remember why I got into cycling in the first place.
“It was a dramatic and beautiful route, just as tough as I expected, and I enjoyed meeting many great people riding it. Well done to all those raising money for Marie Curie Cancer Care, it’s a fantastic cause and your funds will no doubt make a big difference.”
The event had an average ride time of six hours and seven minutes, with the winner of the female category, Hannah Summut, finishing in a time of four hours and 54 minutes, while Dave Hopper came out as the overall winner, finishing in four hours and seven minutes.
The event follows in the footsteps of its six year old counterpart, the Etape Caledonia, which is now at capacity at 5,500 riders and sells out within a week each year.
The two events make up the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Series portfolio, which is set to expand further in 2013, according to organisers IMG.