Published 27 November 2012
The Wight Riviera Sportive returns for 2013, once again featuring it’s unique closed road starting loop, and this year pushing the limits with a top distance extended to a full 100 miles!
One of the most exciting additions to the calendar in 2012, the Wight Riviera became the first sportive in England to feature a major public road closure. This was cleverly achieved in the form of a 25km closed road loop right at the start of the event, which allowed for a mass start roll out and gave all the benefits and thrills of riding on closed roads right where you want it most.
As a bonus, crowds of locals lined the streets to cheer on the riders in the first few miles, and at the conclusion of the closed road loop, the now strung out field rolled back under the start arch, circuited the event centre and rejoined the route for now open road riding on the Island’s beautiful and quiet country roads. The result was a unique event, with a fantastic atmosphere and a proper closed road experience, but without the hefty ticket price that usually accompanies closed road events.
The closed road format is back for 2013, and is joined by a full 100 mile option following on from rider demand. “Fitting a 100 mile course onto the Isle of Wight is no mean feat, but with an intimate knowledge of the Island, and some clever use of the roads, it can be done to great effect”, says course designer Phil Harrison.
“We have been organising events on the Island for over 20 years, so we really do know it’s layout as well as anyone. Riders loved the full course last year, but it was a few miles short off the magic 100, and people really wanted to cross that special milestone. At first I wasn’t sure if we could tweak out those last miles but when I looked into it, some choices opened up and in the end, the hundred came out quite naturally. That’s the beauty of the Isle of Wight for cycling. There are so many roads and lanes criss-crossing miles of countryside and superb hills. It feels so much bigger than it looks on the map.”
The Island is indeed a cycling gem. Its chalk backbone is shaped by a series of high downs, with pretty villages and shady woodlands filling the valleys. And of course sea views and coastal roads dominate the landscape. The Wight Riviera uses all of these to great effect, creating a ride that is challenging, inspiring and memorable. There are four distance choices in total, including the full 100 miler, plus mid and short sportive options that also start with the 25km road closure. The opening circuit is available as a standalone 25km closed road ride on its own too, making this a perfect event to bring the family to. With loads of accommodation and attractions across the Island, the Wight Riviera is possibly the best event on the calendar to build into an extended break.