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Victoria Pendleton launches Cycletta Series of all women challenge rides

Plus British cycling's golden girl expects to get off her bike after London 2012...

Fresh from her exploits on the Manchester track at the weekend Victoria Pendleton was in London on Monday to launch the new Cycletta series, (well, there's two), of women only mass participation rides this summer she also announced that she expected her compeitive cycling career to end with next summer's Olympic Games.

Speaking at the launch Pendleton said:

“Cycling has been my passion since I was a child.  Through the Cycletta series I want to inspire women to join me and cycle; as a hobby, a sport, a way to get fit and healthy.  Whatever the reasoning, cycling can improve your life. I hope Cycletta will bring women together as they take on their own cycling challenge."

She also told the Daily Telegraph that she didn't expect her competitive career to last much beyond the 2012 Olympic Games.

"I've been racing from a hobby level to an elite level from when I was nine [years-old]. It's been a long career and physically I know that I'm getting more and more injuries. It's a warning sign that there's not that much more to come," she told the paper.

Indelicate as it might be to discuss a lady's age Victoria Pendleton will be 31 by the time of next year's London Games so it is not in the least unexpected that she is considering ending her career on what will hopefully be a high note there. In the meantime she's got Cycletta to look forward to.

The series kicks off with Cycletta North on 26th June at Trafford Park in Cheshire, followed on 11th September by Cycletta South at Whipsnade in Bedfordshire, the Cycletta rides are one of a number of women only events being staged this year the difference here is that they will be closed road challenge events and that they are aimed female cyclists of all abilities from complete beginners, commuter and leisure cyclists right up to regularl/sporty cyclists.

All of them will get to tackle a 40Km closed road loop "a distance specifically designed to providea fitness challenge, while remaining achievable and accessible", say the organisers. Details of the exact routes will be announced when all the road closure details have been confirmed with local councils and police, but the organisers promise that both will be over undulating courses through local villages – Cycletta South will take riders through Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.

Getting women on to bikes seems to be very much a cause of the moment, Cycletta is supported by British Cycling and Sky, as reported last month the former received £1m from Sport England earlier this year to develop The National Women's Cycling Network tasked with training 1,000 female "cycling champions" to lead women only group rides, while Davina McCall who put in an impressive performance in last year's Sports Relief Bike Ride from John O'Groats to Land's End is fronting the 100Km Davina's Diva 100 charity ride for Action Medical Research later this year.

The people behind Cycletta are certainly thinking big, aiming to recruit thousands of female cyclists to their rides at £45 a head (you can also chose to ride for the event's charity partner MacMillan Cancer Support) and with a cast of celebrity ambassadors including amongst others Miranda Hart and Claire Balding and Jill Douglas, as well as Victoria Pendleton.

To find out more about the event visit the Cycletta website, as mentioned the entry fee is £45 and that includes mechanical support, feed station, event timing, changing marquees, a free copy of Grazia and Cycling Active magaines, monthly nutritional and cycling fashion support (who couldn't do with some of that), discounts from Evans Cycles and free all day access to the zoo at Whipsnade and the park at Tatton.

Not everything is free though including the parking at Whipsnade and the Helmet Hair Remedy Centre at both.


Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.

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