Despite being hit by sabotage attempts in two out of the last three editions next year's Etape Caledonia will definitely go ahead say the organisers IMG Challenger World a fact they underlined yesterday by opening the Etape Caledonia website to expressions of interest from those wishing to take part in next year's event.
Amy Whiteley, event director, said, “Etape Caledonia is a very important event for IMG Challenger World and we are committed to ensuring it continues to be a success, not only for our participants, but for the local area.”
“Our Facebook page has swelled in fan numbers overnight with literally hundreds of posts from participants and local people congratulating us on the success of this year’s event. We owe it to all of those who have supported the development of this successful event to confirm our commitment to it and to affirm that on Sunday 13th May 2012, we’ll be back.”
This year's event which attracted a field of almost 5,000 riders and their families to the Perthshire area was hit by two separate sabotage attempts. The first was detected on Saturday 14 May when a local cyclist is thought to have raised the alarm over drawing pins spread over a section of the route, while the second was detected in the early hours of Sunday morning by event marshalls on the same section of road between Strathtay and Weem.
Neither incident caused any disruption to the ride itself which was hailed as a "spectacular success" by a spokesperson for Perth & Kinross Council. However, as we reported yesterday the ride was not without incident, two cyclists crashed on the route at the bottom of the Schiehallion descent, which resulted into one participant being airlifted to Ninewell’s Hospital suffering from a suspected punctured lung, broken ribs and possible spine & head injuries. The second rider was treated for minor injuries at the scene and accompanied his friend to hospital.
The condition of the injured rider has been stable overnight and he underwent further surgery yesterday.
With its status as the UK's only closed road sportive to date, the Etape Caledonia has proved a huge success since its launch – that closed road status though has brought it in to conflict with a small but vociferous band of local critics and an even smaller group who are willing to take the law in to their own hands to disrupt it.
The event though does enjoy the support of the local council and the vast majority of local people and it is credited with bringing huge economic benefits to the area - it also raises a large amount of money for its main sponsor, MacMillan Cancer Support. According to the council spokesperson their feedback from the local community continues to be very positive "and this plays an important part in our ongoing backing of the event, to that end we very much look forward to working with IMG to ensure that the Etape Caledonia continues to be a hugely positive annual event in Perthshire’s calendar.”
You can register your interest in taking part in the 2012 Etape Caledonia at www.etapecaledonia.co.uk those registering and interest will get a 24 hour window to secure their places when the event does goes live for entries later this year.
Tayside Police are appealing to anyone who has any information on either incident that could assist the investigation to call them on 0300 111 2222, or speak to any officer.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.