Following the success of Welsh cycling icon Geraint Thomas, an exciting mix of youth and experience from across the world will contest the UCI sanctioned race after almost 10,000 amateur riders challenge themselves over the 140km and 110km routes. The national teams of Great Britain and Ireland are just two of the teams who will be battling it out on the Tumble and Caerphilly Mountain on Sunday.
A total of 17 professional teams will race over 172.1km, with the aim of toppling 2016 champion Tom Stewart, who returns with One Pro Cycling having claimed the title with Madison Genesis last year.
Team Wiggins will be spearheaded by a pair of young Welsh riders, who will be looking to match the rise of Olympic gold medalist Owain Doull, who entered the inaugural VELOTHON Wales in 2015.
The roads of South East Wales will be familiar to Sam Harrison, who was born and raised in Risca, just five miles from the route. The 25-year-old claimed bronze at the UCI Track World Cup in Glasgow last year, and will be hoping to impress his home crowd alongside Welsh Mountain Bike Cross Country champion Dylan Kerfoot-Robson, from Denbighshire.
Robert Partridge, former Welsh road race champ rides for Bike Channel Canyon. Edward Laverack from Llanelli will be out to make a name for himself after taking the overall title at the Bay Criteriums in Australia and winning the national under 23 road title in 2014.
Promising British cyclists Jacob Hennessy, Reece Wood, Angus Claxton, Ethan Hayter Matthew Walls and Matthew Bostock will represent their country, while a group of five Irish riders bid to beat them across the finish line in Cardiff city centre.
Bolivian team Start Vaxes Cycling have brought together riders from Chile, Mexico, Eritrea and Belgium, while the Japan-based Interpro Cycling Academy will get a taste of the breathtaking Welsh countryside and cityscape.
There are several British riders among the 17 teams taking part. The full list of confirmed teams is: Madison Genesis, AC Sparta Praha, Bike Channel Canyon, Beobank – Corendon, JLT Condor, Bike Aid, One Pro Cycling, Dare Vitor Partizan, Team Raleigh Gac, Nice Cycling Team, Team Wiggins, Interpro Cycling Academy, Rietumu Banka-Riga, Start Vaxes Cycling Team, Team Sauerland NRW P/B Henley & Partners, National Team Great Britain and National Team Ireland.
Last year’s race was won by Stewart in a time of 4:20:29, with Rasmus Guldhammer and Ian Bibby completing the other two places on the podium.
This year’s professional race starts at 12.45pm from the St Mary’s Street in Cardiff city centre and follows the same route as the 140km sportive for amateur cyclists with the addition of two extra loops of the famous Tumble climb.