Etape Cymru bounces back to deliver a hilly challenge for 1,200 riders

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When the Etape Cymru relaunched this year, its new organisers promised to deliver an event free of chaos, after 2011's event attracted stinging criticism over organisation and safety.

And it seems they did it - on Sunday 1,200 cyclists took to the roads of North Wales to complete the hilly challenge.

Riders covered 92 miles on closed roads and took in over 3000m of climbing, taking in tough climbs such as The Horseshoe Pass, The Garth and Worlds End.

Olympic medallist and Wrexham local, Chris Bartley, rode the event and was the first to cross the finish line, hand in hand with a friend.

Bartley became the first Welsh Olympic medallist at London 2012 with silver in the lightweight rowing men's four and used cycling as a key part of his Olympic preparations.

Speaking after the event, Bartley seemed very impressed with the day. “The Etape Cymru was a brilliant event and the whole day was a great experience. It was lovely to see so many people out on their bikes enjoying the Welsh countryside."

He continued: "Even with all the training, it was a tough day in the saddle, so it was nice to relax in the event village after the ride and chat to other participants.”

This year the ride was managed by experienced event organisers, Human Race, with support from Wrexham and Denbighshire Councils to allow the road closures.

They took comments from the 2011 event, providing support at the start and finish, signing and marshaling on the course, mechanical assistance and well-stocked feed stations.

Hannah White, who took part in the Etape Cymru, said: “It was definitely a tough ride and we were really glad to have the roads to ourselves, giving us space to take things at our own speed – and stop for a breather every now and again.”

Entries for Etape Cymru 2013 are now open. To enter or for more information visit Etape Cymru.