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UK sportive planner: 2018 Velothon Wales

BikesEtc
24 Nov 2017

Sign up now to take part in the biggest closed-road cycling event in Wales

When: Sunday 8th July 2018
Where: Cardiff
Distance: 140km
Cost: £69
Sign up: velothon.com

What is the Velothon Wales?

Sanctioned by cycling’s governing body, the UCI, the Velothons are an international series of amateur Gran Fondo-style cycling events, starting and finishing in major cities, including Berlin, Hamburg, Stockholm, Alberta in Canada and even a three-day event in Sunshine Coast, Australia.

The Welsh stage in the series starts in the capital, Cardiff, where up to 18,000 cyclists from around the world will gather for a challenging ride that takes in the most stunning scenery South Wales has to offer.

What are the route options?

The flagship event, which has been running annually since 2015, is the classic 140km (87 miles) route, held on a fully closed-road circuit around South Wales.

Heading east towards Newport, the route then turns north towards Abergavenny and into the Brecon Beacons, before turning back southwards, returning to Cardiff via Caerphilly.

For 2018, the organisation of the event has been taken over by Run 4 Wales, which has promised to make it bigger and better than ever, with changes including the addition of two new, shorter route options aimed at catering for less experienced cyclists who may not feel up to taking on the full distance.

More details of these are due to be revealed soon, so keep an eye on the event website.

Are there hills?

Of course, this is Wales, after all! The 140km route takes in a total of 1,822m of climbing, which puts it in the realm of ‘tough but manageable’ for most reasonably fit cyclists – but still challenging enough to be a test of character.

While much of the route is fairly rolling, there are a couple of standout climbs on the 140km route.

The first of these, which comes at around the halfway point just after Abergavenny, is The Tumble, a climb that has regularly featured on the Tour of Britain over the years.

At around 5km overall, it’s a tough ascent, the first half rising through the woods at a fairly consistent 10% gradient as it twists through several hairpins.

The second half takes you on to exposed higher ground, where the gradient eases off slightly but the wind can make it feel even harder than the first half if it’s not in your favour.

Once you get to the summit, though, the exposed nature of the terrain means the views are spectacular.

The other major climb is Caerphilly Mountain. Like The Tumble, this starts with a wooded section, which feels quite gentle to start with but gradually gets steeper and steeper the higher you go.

The climb finishes with what can only be described as a ‘wall’ – although the average gradient over its 3.1km is just 5%, it maxes out at a punishing 12% on the steepest sections.

What’s included in the entry fee?

As you’d expect of a major international event, there’s plenty of support for riders both on the ride, with several feed stations and mechanical support along the route.

At the start/finish, there is also a cycling festival and expo, and there’s a competition with prizes for cycling club teams.

When can I sign up?

The 2018 event, which will be held next July, is already open for entries, and a discounted rate is available to the first 5,000 riders to sign up.

If you want to take advantage of this offer, get yourself head over to the website at velothon.com straight away.

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