More than 9,000 cyclists turned the third edition of Velothon Wales into another success as crowds came out in force along the route to support riders from all over the world.
The biggest closed-road event of its kind in Wales was blessed with fantastic weather and huge enthusiasm as the masses of cycling enthusiasts made their way from Cardiff Castle over a 140km course that took them through Newport, Usk, the Brecon Beacons, Pontypool, Newbridge and Caerphilly before returning to the Welsh capital.
Cardiff was bathed in sunshine as the sportive got rolling past the iconic Cardiff Castle and onto Newport. Riders were treated to a spectacular display of support in Usk, where decorated bikes adorned the picturesque streets.
But the fearsome Tumble lay in wait. The legendary climb in Blaenavon – a 6km, Category 2 gradient climb of 10% – provided a huge challenge to the riders in both the amateur and professional sections of the race. Fastest up the steep climb was Tom Silcox of Cardiff Ajax in 17:19 , closely followed by club team-mate Dave Middleton.
First rider home in the Sportive was Anthony Roberts of Guildford in 03:40:43 and the honour of being the first Welsh-based rider to finish fell to Morgan Jones, who came in only a minute later. The first woman to finish was Tina Hartwright from London, who raced over the finish line in 04:04:40.
Nigel Russell, Velothon Wales event director, said: “The third instalment of Velothon Wales proved to be the best yet along the stunning, sun-bathed course in South Wales.
“Local communities turned out in their droves to cheer on our 9,000 amateur riders and professionals, while our army of volunteers ensured this year’s event went down without a hitch.
“I would like to thank all five local authorities for making the 2017 Velothon Wales the unforgettable event it was. We’re already looking forward to next year!”
The professional race, that covered 172km and involved two climbs up the Tumble this year, involved 17 teams from 10 different nations and was won by Ian Bibby of Team JLT Condor, after he finished third in last year’s race.
One Pro cycling’s Karol Domgalski finished a close second and Team Great Britain’s Chris Lawless took the bronze medal. The peloton left it too late to chase down the trio of breakaway riders as things hotted up on the second lap of the Tumble.
Following the success of this year’s event anticipation is already growing for the next instalment which, has now been confirmed for Sunday 8 July 2018. Entry details will be announced very soon.
Bath Cycling Club were the winners of the Yellow Jersey Trophy after recording the fastest accumulative time. The West Country club were also awarded the Polkadot trophy for the fastest team ascent of the Tumble.
But local club Cardiff Ajax were crowned Overall Club Champions, which is based on the total kilometres ridden at Velothon Wales. Their 50 riders travelled a distance of 6,580km.
By James Candy