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Major cycling legends sign-up for Iron Mountain Sportif

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Event: 13 July 2013
Location: Bailey Park, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire
Report: Iron Mountain Sportif


Two major cycling legends have put pen to paper and signed up to ride this year's Iron Mountain Sportif, the Abergavenny Festival of Cycling's mass participation ride, this July.

Hugh Porter in a familiar pose. With just 12 weeks left before the Festival gets underway, one of the men who lead Team GB to a gold rush in the 2012 London Olympic Games has joined the other riders going over the Iron Mountain Sportif's longest route, the one hundred miles course that includes a climb up the infamous Tumble Mountain.

Shane Sutton, who lives in Cardiff and number two behind Sir Dave Brailsford with Team GB last year, is getting on his bike this summer and has included the big ride around Monmouthshire in his itinenary.

Sutton is riding the famous Tour de France public ride L'Etape, which this year is over the mountains near the French town of Annecy just days before Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish are due to climb the two mountains on Stage 20.

Australian-born Sutton, 55, won gold at the Commonwealth Games in the Team Pursuit track race in Edmonton, Canada, before winning the Milk Race - now the Tour of Britain - in 1990 and coming third in the Briitsh Road Race Championships in 1993 before going into coaching.

But the other legend is well-known to all cycling fans for his voice. Hugh Porter, 73, is one of Britain's greatest riders, having won four world titles in the track individiual pursuit during the 1960s as well as Commonwealth Games gold in 1966.

Porter was the lead commentator on cycling for the BBC until March this year, and called home Sir Chris Hoy to his historic sixth Olympic gold medal at the Games Velodrome in London last August. He has been a regular at the Abergavenny Festival of Cycling and commentated on every race there since 1986, including the 2009 event which incorporated three British Road Race Championships - junior, women and men - on one weekend.

Porter is riding the shortest Iron Mountain Sportif route over 25 miles. Festival organiser Bill Owen said: "Shane and Hugh are two of the biggest names in cycling and it is great that they have decided to have a go in the Sportif this year."

Sutton was centre stage at the Festival Fringe last year where he spoke about the Olympics to an audience at the Borough Theatre with leading cycling journalists Rob Penn and William Fotheringham, and is expected to repeat the talk this year.

There are three rides that make up the Iron Mountain Sportif. They are over 25 miles, fifty miles and the full one hundred miles course and entries can be made online for the July 13 event at www.abergavennyfestivalofcycling.co.uk

The Festival of Cycling is expanding this year with the annual Town Centre Criterium races, incorporating the televised Elite Circuit Series, on Friday July 12, and the main road race of the weekend, the Grand Prix of Wales, plus the Para-cycling Grand Prix of Wales, the first Paralympic road race in the Principality, on Sunday July 14.