Event: 14 July 2013
How do you take an iconic sportive and improve it – without losing any of the original charm? That’s the challenge facing Martin Barden, who has welcomed the Magnificat to the organisational arm of the Wiggle Super Series.
After nine years, Ken and Barbara Robertson handed over - in Barden’s words – “one of Britain’s most iconic events.”
“The reputation was an important thing for us” Barden explains, when defining the reasons to take on the Magnificat.
“We can take what is a great event with a great reputation and enhance that even further.
“The event is one of those that stands out in the calendar, it’s UCI recognised. It’s got a great pedigree and from our point of view a number of things makes that, the location, the challenge. It was a really easy decision for us (to take it on).”
What resulted are four routes, from 26 to 124 miles through Hampshire, the longest route reaching the South Downs and all within reach of London.
Barden’s aim is to take the event to the next level, something he believes will be achieved by bringing the resources of the bigger organisation, to reach more riders. From course enhancements, to increased sponsor contribution and rider numbers one element that remains is the fantastic setting of Newbury Racecourse to keep what Barden describes as the essence of the event.
“In year one we wanted to make course enhancements, we’ve done that. We wanted to grow the event in size and stature but we also wanted to maintain the setting and invite our partners. It’s going to be a really good atmosphere. Once it’s run and we have experience of the event we will look to keep it moving over the next few years.
“All these elements and bits of detail are there to make sure riders have an amazing time. I think it will be one people want to do to get that big event feel and be confident that it will be well run.”
With the event now just days away, both riders and organisers are making their final preparations; both anticipating the event with equal fervour.
“We’re excited, there’s been a lot of planning and investment gone into it to see it come to fruition – it’s not too far away now – for the whole team at UK Cycling Events it’s really quite exciting.
“For the riders my key message would be to enjoy it. This is a very picturesque and quintessentially English course, with views and vibrant colours. The Magnificat really is an overload for the senses.”
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