On your marks...get set...unfold!

If life might seem a little empty once the Tour de France finishes then fear not – there is always October to look forward to and the Brompton World Championships.

Held for the fourth year now, the BWC will take place at Blenheim Palace on Sunday October 4 as part of the ‘Bike Blenheim’ cycling festival.

It’s taken quite seriously, too; it’s not merely a mass participation ride but a genuine race, registered with British Cycling and involving participants timed while completing a set number of laps over a specified course.

The BWC will again be larger and better than the one that went before, and to reflect this, the field has been opened up to another 100 competitors, bringing the total number of entrants to 600.

This year’s event will be held over the same circuit as the 2008 race, comprising two laps of a 6.5km course. This will give last year’s participants the opportunity to beat the time they set over the same course last September and beat the times set by BWC III winner Alistair Kay, and Tour of Spain winner, Roberto Heras.

Any thoughts of green and yellow jerseys for competitors must be swiftly dismissed. There is a strict dress code, and it doesn’t in any way feature Lycra. Helmets are a must, as are a blazer or suit jacket, collared shirt and tie. Sports attire is not permitted, unless it is hidden by the approved kit. There is a prize for the best-dressed, so competitors are encouraged to make an effort.

Katharine Horsman, BWC organiser, commented: “There were some extremely good costumes last year - Evel Knievel, a few morning suits, and some beautifully decorated bicycles - but my personal favourite was the gentleman dressed as a gorilla wearing a suit.”

Paul Orsi, Events Manager at Blenheim Palace, said: “The two events share many common values, not least the desire for excellence and fun in sporting endeavours."

Places will be awarded on a first come first served basis, but in the light of the increased numbers, a system of self-selected streaming, based on anticipated race times, will be introduced.

Prizes will be awarded for the fastest male, female, junior (12 – 18), veteran (male & female 50+) and team competitors.

The deadline for registration is Sunday 20th September 2009. Full details may be found on the Brompton website: www.brompton.co.uk/bwc/2009/