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Velothon Wales

4 Closed Road Sportives You Can Do In The UK In 2017

We love a cycling event. There is nothing like riding with thousands of other enthusiasts around hand-picked courses, routes that you haven’t had to choose or that you’ve been over week after week.

For roadies the only downside of most sportives is that you still have to put up with the traffic. However there are a few closed road sportives in the UK that mean you don’t even have to think about it. Although the Great Manchester Cycle and the Etape Pennines have both closed in recent years there are still some crackers for 2017, including a brand new closed road event in Birmingham.

If you’ve never ridden on closed roads you need to hunt one of these out this year and #justride it

Etape Caledonia

Etape Caledonian

  • When: 21 May 2017
  • Length: 130km
  • Climbing: 1196m
  • Riders: 5,000+
  • Difficulty rating: 5

The UK’s first sportive is as popular as ever, even with the competition from bigger events launching in Wales and England in recent years. There is no big city start here with the route heading out of Pitlochry just south of the Cairngorm National Park and taking in Lochs Rannoch and Tummel before tackling the climb at Schiehallion, which is over 10km and 1% gradient in total, although the main dig in the first 2km which is 10% or so for much of it.

Ride it for: The views

Official website:

Velothon Wales

Velothon Wales

Cardiff, WALES – MAY 22: Cyclists at the start of the race on St. Mary’s Street during the Velothon Wales 2016 on May 22, 2016 in Cardiff, Wales. Approximately 18,000 riders took part in the 140km main race with over 100 pro riders also competing over a 194km course which took in laps of The Tumble and Caerphilly Mountain climbs. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

  • When: 9 July 2017
  • Length: 140 km / 110km
  • Climbing: 1822m
  • Riders: 15,000
  • Difficulty rating: 6

A relative newcomer, Velothon Wales launched in 2015 along with a pro ride on the same roads on the same day. The surprisingly quick route takes you on a loop from Cardiff up into the Brecons for a climb up the mighty Tumble, 4.6km of grinding climbing at 8% that will test anyone and then back down to Cardiff via Caerphilly Mountain, a short sharp shock of a climb – just over a km of 10% with the odd bit of 18% thrown in for fun. Outside of that it’s a super fast route and personally recommended by Rich.

Ride it for: Checking The Tumble off your Top 100 Climbs list.

Official website:

Prudential RideLondon

Ride London sportive

  • When: 30 July 2017
  • Length: 160km / 74km
  • Climbing: Approx 1,700m
  • Riders: 20,000+
  • Difficulty rating: 7

RideLondon has become the daddy of UK sportives, raising millions for charity and packing more than 20,000 riders on its 160km and 74km routes, taking in the notorious Leith and Box Hills down in Surry before finishing where it started at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. With a women’s pro race, a circuit Grand Prix and even a Brompton bike race thrown in, the capital certainly has the country’s biggest closed road event.

Ride it for: Spotting ex-rugby players struggling up Box Hill.

Official website:

Velo Birmingham

New Birmingham sportive

  • When: 24 September 2017
  • Length: 160km
  • Climbing: Approx 2,000m
  • Riders: 20,000+
  • Difficulty rating: 7

A new event for this year, Velo Birmingham brings closed roads mass-participation sportive to the UK’s second city. Starting in the city centre the route heads out to Worcestershire and Herefordshire countryside including a KOM at the 80-mile mark climbing from Belbroughton which should include the St Kenelm’s Pass, a 2km brute with 5% overall but plenty of 10% action for you. We will be personally testing out this route this year.

Ride it for: Getting out of Birmingham

Official website:

Did we miss any? Let us know or tell us about your favourite sportives in the comments.

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