More than 8,000 riders and crowds of roaring supporters brought a taste of the Tour De France to South Wales as the revamped VELOTHON Wales proved a hit once again.
The biggest closed-road event of its kind in Wales was blessed with fantastic weather and huge enthusiasm as the revamped 2018 edition returned for a fourth year. The sportive has now welcomed more than 35,000 cycling enthusiasts since its inception in 2015.
Seasoned cyclists taking on the challenging 140km and 125km courses flooded the Welsh capital with bikes as they set off past Cardiff Castle and headed East to Newport, before the fearsome Tumble climb in Blaenavon, made even more challenging by the 27C heat.
The 5km Category 2 gradient climb of 10% pushed the amateur riders to the limit, but Mark Woodrow made light work of the notorious section to take the King of the Mountain jersey with a time of 16 minutes 13 seconds. The Queen of the Mountain award went to Caitlin Hawkins, who tackled the climb in 19:55.
Then came the turn of those getting in the saddle for the first time at a world-class closed road cycling sportive. Almost 400 first time riders left the crackling atmosphere of Usk, which was again decorated with artistic cycling creations, and joined up with the stream of cyclists as they powered their way towards the final significant climb at Caerphilly Mountain.
An extra provision of 10,000 litres of water was supplied to ensure the searing heat would not get in the way of riders reaching the finish line. The additional water stops in Newport and at the Tumble summit ensured the sportive field made it back to Cardiff for a sprint finish on King Edward VII Avenue.
First rider home in the Sportive was Robert Grover of Velo Club Walcot in 03:45:49 and the the first woman to finish was Kim Bainbridge from Leatherhead, who raced over the finish line in 04:20:54.
Run 4 Wales Chief Executive Matt Newman said: “VELOTHON Wales has evolved over the years to become an unmissable event on the Welsh sporting calendar. Even with the sun beating down, the riders, volunteers and organisers all had smiles on their faces after a truly unique cycling experience on the closed roads of South Wales.
“Local communities turned out in their droves once again to cheer on our amateur riders to make the 2018 instalment a truly unforgettable event.
“The event would not be possible without the support of VELOTHON Series owners IRONMAN, the five local authorities along the route and funding partners Welsh Government/ Visit Wales.”
Bath CC were the winners of the Yellow Jersey Trophy after recording the fastest accumulative time over the 140 race. Thornbury Cycling Club took the Women’s team race while Savannah Group took home the Corporate challenge trophy.
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