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Dragon Ride: The UK’s toughest sportive opens ballot for 2021

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The Brecon Beacons event returns with all new routes – and there’s still a chance to sign up thanks to a ballot for remaining places

16 Sep 2020

Like many cycling events of 2020, the famous Welsh Dragon Ride found itself cancelled in the wake of Covid-19. However, the UK’s toughest sportive is making a roaring comeback next year under the slogan ‘The Beast is Back’. Dragon Ride is now confirmed to return on Sunday 6th June 2021.

Taking place in the rural and stunning backdrop of the Brecon Beacons, Dragon Ride is a gruelling, bucket list achievement for cyclists thanks to its four challenging routes. The most demanding of all is the Dragon Devil – over 300km in distance and 4,300m of climbing – incorporating the Devil’s Elbow and Devil’s Staircase.

The routes for 2021 will reverse those from previous years, offering participants the chance to view South Wales’s scenery from a new vantage point.

The Macmillan 100 route will be fully reversed, meaning the Bwlch and Rhigos mountain roads will be tackled from the opposite direction for the first time, while Medio Fondo has added in two new sections to take the total elevation up to 2,825m.

Gran Fondo, meanwhile, has been slightly shortened, but with a major climb added in, and will still take in the Black Mountain, Devil’s Elbow, Rhigos and Bwlch.

You can find more about the routes by taking a look at the 2021 preview here.

The majority of those who were due to participate in the 2020 event have chosen to roll their entries over to 2021, but there’s still a chance to take part if you weren’t already signed up for this year. There are still some guaranteed places available, and to be as fair as possible Dragon Ride is holding a ballot for the remaining places.

The ballot opens on 16th September and will run through until midnight on 5th October. You can enter through, and organisers are expecting significant demand as riders look to get back into cycling events post-lockdown.

Plans are already underway to ensure Dragon Ride 2021 is a Covid-secure event. Organisers will follow the advice and guidance given by the UK Government, and put social distancing in place at the event as far as possible. Additional health and safety measures may include reducing start wave sizes, staggering start times, removing or changing bag drop and increased sanitation facilities.

Dragon Ride is one of the UK’s longest running and most iconic sportives. Founded in 2004 by Lou Lusardi, he took inspiration from the popular Gran Fondos of his home country Italy. The first Dragon Ride attracted 280 riders, but in the years since that number has reached as many as 5,000.

The 2021 event will be the 17th edition, returning to the start and finishing line at Margam Park near Port Talbot. The Dragon Ride routes showcase Wales’s rugged landscapes, and with its sweeping descents and formidable climbs it’s a fine way to take in the breathtaking scenery of the Brecon Beacons.

Enter the ballot for Dragon Ride 2021 now and learn more about the event at

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