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Etape Royale hopes to return next year - but is this a sign of the times?

A major closed-road sportive in Scotland has been cancelled due to “uncertain financial times”.

The Etape Royale in Royal Deeside and Moray was established in 2015 but now has failed to find a sponsor for this year’s event on Sunday, September 18.

David Fox-Pitt for organisers Wildfox said in a statement: “It is a very special sportive which has attracted those cyclists wishing for a more dramatic and challenging ride at the end of the cycling season.

“But, with a smaller field than most, it isn’t viable without significant sponsorship.

“In these uncertain financial times, it has not been possible to secure sufficient corporate or public funding to facilitate a safe and professional event.”

Registration for the event closed a couple of weeks ago, and participants can e-mail info [at] wildfoxevents.com for more information.

Adding that he hoped the event would return for 2018, Mr Fox-Pitt said: “This is a great opportunity to promote business, celebrate cycling and support communities in the north east of Scotland.

“We wish to thank the local community and volunteers for their welcome and continuing support. Together we have built a unique event and although we are sorry to disappoint those wishing to ride this year we look forward to re-launching the sportive again very soon.”

Wildfox Events had hoped to generate a record 1,800 entries this year to the event to raise money for Marie Curie and a number of other local charities.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.