The stunning 140km route for Velothon Wales 2016 has been revealed, with three months to go until the country’s biggest cycling sportive.
Up to 18,000 cyclists are expected to take part in this year’s closed-road event on Sunday 22 May, taking in some of the most beautiful and challenging roads around South Wales.
Cyclists, spectators, residents and businesses can now visit www.velothon-wales.co.uk and journey through the full 140km route via an interactive map.
As previously announced, the 50km route has been withdrawn from this year’s event to minimise disruption. It means the loop from Newport, under the M4 at junction 28, along Forge Lane, through Rhiwderin to Caerphilly is not occurring and the residents will not be affected.
Changes from the inaugural event in 2015 occur on the Usk Road from Caerleon to Usk, where the route turns right at the Cwrt Bleddyn Hotel just before Llangybi and travels through Tredunnock and past the Newbridge on Usk before joining Abernant Road towards Usk.
The route then travels through Llantrisant and Llanllywel before arriving in Usk via Maryport Street, before a right turn into Church Street. The route then leaves Usk along the B4598, Porthycarne Street, through Chain Bridge and Nantyderry before re-joining the 2015 route on the A4042 south of Llanover.
The course then follows the same route as in 2015 and riders will once again take on the very same 140km as some of the world’s best pro teams in the UCI classified 1.1 professional road race.
Starting in Cardiff city centre, it takes riders out of the capital via the Docks and along a 7.5km stretch along the coast road through the Gwent Levels.
Passing through the villages of Peterstone and St Brides, cyclists will reach Newport taking in stunning views over the River Usk and will witness city centre highlights such as the Transporter Bridge.
Leaving the city centre via Langstone towards Caerleon, cyclists will pass the old steelworks and climb 1.6km to enjoy spectacular views of the Celtic Manor and surrounding area.
After the new changes detailed above, the route then goes up to Abergavenny on the A4042 heading up to Llanfoist for The Tumble climb, a famously challenging 6km stretch of road with an average gradient of 9%.
After tackling The Tumble, riders will then begin their journey back towards Cardiff, through the Unesco World Heritage Site at Blaenavon then to Pontypool, Ystrad Mynach, Hengoed and on to Caerphilly - past the castle and up the famous Caerphilly Mountain - before finishing in front of thousands of spectators in Cardiff city centre.
Residents and businesses who will be affected by the road closures associated with the event will start to receive letters with information about the event this month.
Welsh Cycling chief executive Anne Adams-King commented: “Welsh Cycling is excited to welcome Velothon Wales back in May, with a route that will enthuse and challenge participants. We saw thousands of people take part and support each other in 2015, and hope this years’ event will once again inspire Wales to cycle.”
Matt Newman, chief executive of Velothon Wales organisers Run 4 Wales, said: “After discussions with all five local authorities involved, Welsh Government and Welsh and British Cycling we are delighted to be able to announce the route for Velothon Wales 2016.
“We are sure riders will love the stunning scenery, challenging climbs and showpiece city centre start and finish, as they complete the 140km course on closed-roads.
“The local event delivery team are currently in the process of sending out more than 100,000 letters to residents and businesses along the route, giving them detailed information about the event.
“We are committed to improving the level of communication with those affected by road closures and welcome feedback from residents and businesses.”
The inaugural Velothon Wales in 2015 was a huge hit with cyclists, bringing more than 10,000 riders of all ages abilities to the area to tackle the stunning route. It benefitted the local economy by an estimated £2m and raised in excess of £300,000 for good causes.
Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates, said: “The first Velothon Wales was a unique and exciting opportunity to showcase Wales to the world. This year is the Year of Adventure in Wales which will celebrate all we have to offer as an adventure destination. The Velothon is an excellent opportunity for people to sign up and get training for their own personal challenge and to take part in Year of Adventure 2016.”
Velothon Wales 2016 is supported by Welsh Cycling, British Cycling, Welsh Government, Cardiff Council, Newport City Council, Monmouthshire County Council, Torfaen County Borough Council and Caerphilly County Borough Council.
General entry places for Velothon Wales have been selling quickly. There are a limited number of spaces still remaining via www.velothon-wales.co.uk