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Sportive debuts in one of Britain's most spectacular locations next May...

A closed-road sportive that makes its debut next year in one of Britain’s most spectacular locations – the shores of Loch Ness – has proved such a draw that organisers filled all 1,000 places within hours of entries opening on Thursday.

The inaugural 107km Etape Loch Ness will take place on Sunday 4 May 2014 in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

The route, which starts and finishes in Inverness, takes riders along the A82 on the north shore of the loch past Drumnadrochit, Invermoriston and Fort Augustus.

Riders will return to the Highland capital along the quieter south shore on General Wade’s Military Road, built in the wake of the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion.

Event director Malcolm Sutherland told BBC News Highlands & Islands: "Road cycling in the UK is undergoing an incredible resurgence and that's largely down to the success in recent years for British cyclists competing on the international stage.

"I've long held the belief that Loch Ness would be the perfect venue for an iconic and professionally-organised road cycling event that appeals to experienced and novice cyclists from both the UK and overseas.

"It feels like the time is right to launch such an event, and all the signs are pointing towards it being hugely popular," he added.

Those lucky enough to have secured a place will have the opportunity to compete for a King of the Mountains prize shortly after the route passes Fort Augustus and swings back towards Inverness – there’s a 9km climb with a height gain of 380m and a gradient that hits 12 per cent.

Partial or full road closures will take place along the length of the route.

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.

17 comments

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Gkam84 [9089 posts] 2 years ago
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Now I could understand if local's went mad about this route being closed off. This is a MASSIVE tourist attraction and they are blocking off the only route around the loch....

This is just a cash cow now. £55 to ride that route is a piss take

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KiwiMike [1225 posts] 2 years ago
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If I were to go up there it would cost me probably at least ~£500 in flights, transfers, accommodation, food etc not counting time off work. £55 to *guarantee* a good and above all safe time is money damn well-spent, IMHO.

Impacts on locals will have been considered in the closure process, by councils and police. Let's trust them to have got it right.

Noting: the first leg is not a totally closed road - there will be oncoming traffic between Inverness & Fort Augustus. The second leg back home is fully closed. And there's a 13MPH minimum pace, so 2 1/2hrs max for the first half. Starting at 0630 in 2min waves, even if it's only 20 per wave everyone will be off the main road and reopened to two-way traffic by 11am. Hardly a major issue?

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Joeinpoole [441 posts] 2 years ago
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Seems to me that there is no shortage of quiet-ish, rural roads in Scotland. Why you would want to ride the largely flat and boring A82 around Loch Ness is an utter mystery to me, especially at a cost of £50. You don't need much imagination to discover *way* more interesting routes in that locality. The 'fame' of said location is not justified IMHO. Visually Loch Ness is about as ordinary as any long flat stretch of water in Scotland can be.

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Gkam84 [9089 posts] 2 years ago
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Joeinpoole wrote:

Seems to me that there is no shortage of quiet-ish, rural roads in Scotland. Why you would want to ride the largely flat and boring A82 around Loch Ness is an utter mystery to me, especially at a cost of £50. You don't need much imagination to discover *way* more interesting routes in that locality. The 'fame' of said location is not justified IMHO. Visually Loch Ness is about as ordinary as any long flat stretch of water in Scotland can be.

My thoughts aswell.

Stick Etape infront of a place name and you will get a bunch of people wanting to ride there, without even knowing the place.

As you say, its not a challenge around that road at all.

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KiwiMike [1225 posts] 2 years ago
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Clearly 1,000 people were wrong.

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Trull [81 posts] 2 years ago
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I warmly welcome this event and wish all that have entered a great time. The crowds of locals up around Inverness are superb - I ran a 10k and my wife ran the Loch Ness Marathon accompanied by hundreds of cheering locals cheering you on it was a fantastic atmosphere!

In marked contrast running Aberdeen City's 10k - where you run through the industrial harbour (red light) area to be confronted by the odd spectator who looks like you are something they've just scraped off your shoe out of their cold dead zombie eyes…

For me - as its a dead flat course its not "interesting" enough but I'm sure there will be plenty who want to set a good time trial time. For the rest of us there's the opportunity of riding the Snow Roads or Wildcat Grimpeur in our own time at much reduced cost.

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Gkam84 [9089 posts] 2 years ago
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I'd like to see the interest in putting on an "Etape" from Tomintoul to Montrose....Over the Lecht and Cairn O'Mount....THAT's a proper challenge and no need to close the roads http://goo.gl/maps/wDFJ2

Over two of the highest passes in Scotland  19

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Simon_MacMichael [2457 posts] 2 years ago
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Trull wrote:

For me - as its a dead flat course its not "interesting" enough...

Dead flat apart from that KOM climb with the 380m height gain...  3

Spent the first few years of my life in Highland/Grampian though so I know how easy it is to get used to having all those mountains around  1

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fatbeggaronabike [823 posts] 2 years ago
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£500 on flights? I booked me and the bike on the sleeper train to inverness a few years back and then circumnavigated the loch (clockwise) after a good breakfast in a mall opposite the station, because I booked in advance I got the berth for less than £50.

Had I known about the event I might well have done the same again.

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crazy-legs [795 posts] 2 years ago
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Hmm, my KOM on the western side of the loch might be in jeopardy... I suspect the only reason I've got it in the first place is cos it's only been ridden by a couple of hundred people!

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ragtimecyclist [158 posts] 2 years ago
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I agree, but it's supply and demand. They've worked out how much people people will fork out...and been proved right. Anyone with any sense who wanted to ride around Loch Ness would just get a bunch of mates together and go and do it.

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Simon_MacMichael [2457 posts] 2 years ago
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ragtimecyclist wrote:

Anyone with any sense who wanted to ride around Loch Ness would just get a bunch of mates together and go and do it.

Hmmm, I was reading an old thread in the City of Inverness CC website at the weekend about this event, and they seemed well up for it, even though they could ride the route any time. I'd give a link, but the site's down for maintenance.

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ragtimecyclist [158 posts] 2 years ago
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That's interesting...clearly the locals will know more than me so maybe i'm missing something? I'm not against Sportives in general, this one just seems a bit pricey to me, as if simply the name Loch Ness has served to bump up the price.

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Metjas [362 posts] 2 years ago
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I certainly don't agree with it, but not uncommon for local CC members to use a sportive in their backyard as an unofficial race, bragging rights etc.

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Leviathan [2139 posts] 2 years ago
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Some people are just never happy.

Sold out straight away?! How do you hear about such things?

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Trull [81 posts] 2 years ago
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For your delectation I offer the Wildcat Grimpeur:
http://www.mapmyride.com/gb/kirriemuir-sct/wildcat-grimpeur-route-160540148

The route of the Snow Roads is good as well:
http://www.mapmyride.com/gb/kirriemuir-sct/snow-roads-300km-audax-route-...

Sign up at Audax UK, select DIY by GPS, nominate a date and get it ridden.

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coljay [4 posts] 2 years ago
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Lots of folk local to Inverness disappointed not to get a place before entries were closed. Yes, we could ride that route any time, but it includes the only stretch of road in the Highlands I won't cycle on (because of the traffic conditions), and several stretches that make for unpleasant cycling amongst the coaches and vans.

Fifty five quid may seem a lot. But turn that into salaries for the organisers and I bet they won't make a profit this year. I'm guessing it's a gamble on success. Profits will come when they accept 5000 entries a few years down the road.