Event: 13 July 2013
Location: Abergavenny Rugby Club Bailey Park, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire.
Abergavenny's Festival of Cycling has begun a new era as it looks to make the town the capital of the sport in Wales during 2013 with a programme packed of events both on and off the bike.
Entries for the Iron Mountain Sportif have now opened and are available online through British Cycling’s online entry here.
Just days before the New Year arrives, Festival organisers have launched a whole new drive with a state-of-the-art website, social media outlets and a campaign to encourage people to enjoy the fantastic surroundings of the Monmouthshire countryside this summer.
The Festival of Cycling takes place between Monday July 8 and Sunday July 14 with the Saturday centrepiece being the very popular Iron Mountain Sportif, where families and friends can ride the course taken by stars like Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins and Olympic gold medalist Geriant Thomas during the 2009 National Road Race Championships.
It is the first time in a number of years that the Festival has been held over a full week in Abergavenny and, with the backing of Monmouthshire County and Abergavenny Town Councils along with a new group of people dedicated to making the area a cycling haven, the town and district can expect to benefit from many tourists bringing thousands of pounds into the local economy.
The Festival starts on Monday July 8 before a handicap race on Tuesday July 9 and continues through the week alongside the Fringe Festival, which proved extremely popular at the 2012 event, and which is expected to have a top-class feature on Thursday July 11.
Then, on Friday July 12, the main racing begins when the cream of the domestic riding scene take to the streets of Abergavenny Town Centre for the Wales Open Criterium, which will be part of the Elite Town Centre Series that is shown on television. Plus the highly-popular support events such as the junior races and the Trader's Race will see riders flashing around the roads.
The Iron Mountain Sportif, starting in Bailey Park and run in conjunction with the Abergavenny Carnival again, hits the road of Monmouthshire on Saturday July 13, and another big Fringe event is lined-up for the evening which, this year, saw one of the men who took Britain to multiple Olympic gold medals in London 2012 - coach Shane Sutton - talking at the Borough Theatre.
Finally, on Sunday July 14, those domestic riders - including former National champions such as Russell Downing and Kristian House, the latter of whom won his title in Abergavenny in 2009, will be hitting the road for the long-awaited return of the Grand Prix of Wales, one of only six races in the annual Premier Calendar Series.
Organiser Bill Owen said: "We are very excited by the programme we are putting together for the 2013 Festival. It is already taking shape and making it extend over the week, with local and Fringe events as well as elite and junior races plus the top-class leisure rides, shows that we are intent on making this the showcase of cycling in Wales not just for 2013 but for the future.
"It is a magnificent opportunity for us, with the backing we are receiving from everyone - councils, cycling shops, clubs and individuals. With this support, there is only one way for the Festival to go and that is onwards and upwards."
To be part of this fantastic Festival, enter the Iron Mountain Sportif today!
For more information about the Festival go to www.abergavennyfestivalofcycling.co.uk