Entries open at noon today for London-Paris 2011, with the 520km, three-day ride from Hampton Court Palace to the Eiffel Tower, featuring rolling road closures, police outriders and lead cars to give what organisers claim is “the closest the amateur rider can get to the Tour de France experience.”
If you want to book a place, though, you’d better be quick – last year’s 350 places sold out in record time, as Sven Thiele of event organiser HotChilee explains.
“We were overwhelmed by the demand for places in 2010, with the event selling out just 20 hours after entries opened. We expect things to be even more frenetic this year and our team are ready to cope with the demand.
“The London-Paris has grown quickly since the first edition in 2004 and the fantastic professional team that we now have assembled is extraordinary.
“We also have world class sponsors and partners to be proud of and the bar is continually being raised in terms of the calibre of riders, as our community continues to grow. The entire support team is ready and looking forward to an exceptional 2011".
Last year, the even attracted celebrity riders including Tour de France winner Stephen Roche, F1 World Champion Nigel Mansell, Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt and former England rugby captain Will Carling, and this year’s event is also likely to attract other big names to ride into Paris along with the rest of the peloton.
Riders are split into five seeded groups backed by a 100-member support team, and entry includes breakfast, lunch and dinner plus overnight accommodation each day, including following arrival in Paris, while a separate package is available for friends and family wanting to travel to Paris to celebrate the arrival.
Full details, including prices, are available on the event website, and to sign up for the 2011 ride, click on the yellow 'Enter L2P 2011' button.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.