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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.

9 comments

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mikecassie [58 posts] 1 month ago
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I was going to enter that, but not now.  Oh well...  It was closed roads which made it more expensive than other sportives.  

Mind you having a route very similar to the KoM Sportive which is held earlier in the year also doesn't help things.  Maybe a different route would help get entrants and thus sponsorship?

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mike the bike [921 posts] 1 month ago
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The truth is that there are now far too many sportives for the market to bear.  As with pop festivals, we have reached saturation level.

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Chris Hayes [142 posts] 1 month ago
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Totally agree with Mike's sentiments, though it would be interesting to learn what the cost difference is between a closed road and open road event: perhaps they were over-reaching?   I wouldn't have throught that there would be that much traffic in this area of outstanding natural beauty.  I'll look out for this next year....and take the midge repellent!  Trouble is as a resident of the SE, Flanders is closer for me.... and ironically cheaper to get to.... 

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The Gavalier [39 posts] 1 month ago
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Tesco Bank Tour of the Borders in September is also closed roads. Give that a go instead, big sponsor and Mark Beamont is an ambassador. 

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fenix [666 posts] 1 month ago
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mike the bike wrote:

 

The truth is that there are now far too many sportives for the market to bear.  As with pop festivals, we have reached saturation level.

And yet if you have a decent pop festival you will do well.

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Duncann [1046 posts] 1 month ago
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fenix wrote:
mike the bike wrote:

 

The truth is that there are now far too many sportives for the market to bear.  As with pop festivals, we have reached saturation level.

And yet if you have a decent pop festival you will do well.

Sales of booze?

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Gkam84 [9100 posts] 1 month ago
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Thank f**k is all I can say. They came here to where I live (Ballater) with all this chat of how great it would be, this, that and the next promised to the locals to help them out. It was a nightmare from beginning to end. I volunteered to do the first one as a mobile mechanic on the course. The organisation was a shambles. So I pulled my support after the briefing the night before. Having worked on KOM numerous times. Sadly the guys behind KOM decided to pass it on to another organiser, only the BEST organiser in Scotland of events at this time, Alan Anderson, whom I've worked with over the years on his Tour of the Highlands, 3 Pistes, Snowball Sportive and his Triathlons. Not to mention, he also runs SwimRun UK...

 

As for them also using the exact same route that KOM designed, then closing all the roads, the locals just didn't get behind it and once you have lost the support around here. It isn't coming back. You won't be seeing this event in 2018 either, so don't be fooled into thinking that.

Get signed up to KOM when the entries open and come have a blast http://www.komsportive.co.uk/

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Philip Whiteman [25 posts] 1 month ago
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Does anyone recall Kilotogo, a company that solicited entrants' fees and then declared bankruptcy leaving riders high and dry?

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Gkam84 [9100 posts] 1 month ago
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Also, the headline of this is shocking. "Major"....It was never major, it was half-assed at best and that is being generous.