Cycling fever will spread from from the Tour de France to South Wales on Sunday as thousands of riders gear up for VELOTHON Wales.
While Welshmen Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe battle it out for the ultimate accolade, nearly 9,000 amateur riders will be taking on their own cycling challenge up the Tumble and Caerphilly Mountain.
The 2018 instalment of VELOTHON Wales has been revamped with a number of exciting changes to offer the perfect challenge to riders of all abilities. Here is everything you need to know about Sunday’s event.
What time will it start?
This year VELOTHON Wales has a three routes to give hardened cyclists and beginners the perfect challenge for their level of ability. Riders taking on the gruelling 140km course can begin loading into their specified start pen from 06:30, before the first wave kick things off at 07:00. The final group to get going through the streets of Cardiff will be the VELOTHON 125 riders, who begin their journey just after 08:30.
Usk will host start of a brand new 60km route to give new riders a true experience of a world-class closed road cycling event without the daunting distance. The point-to-point race departs the Monmouthshire town at 10:00 before joining up with the other riders on their journey towards Cardiff.
What's the route?
Featuring the notorious Tumble and infamous Caerphilly Mountain climbs, the VELOTHON 140KM route starts and finishes in the heart of Cardiff, taking in some of Wales’ most breath-taking scenery.
Riders will leave Cardiff to the east, heading through Newport and Usk, before entering the Brecon Beacons National Park, home of the legendary Tumble climb - a highlight of the route! - and home to Velothon Wales' "King and Queen of the Mountains Challenge".
The route then heads south via Pontypool and Newbridge on its way to Caerphilly for one final climb up the stunning Caerphilly Mountain, before finishing with a fast descent towards the finish line, in the heart of Cardiff city centre.
The course hosted professional races in 2015, 16 and 17 and the atmosphere along it will leave riders feeling like a pro. The Welsh communities along the route come out in force to support - delivering a truly special atmosphere that will inspire you to the finish.
Riders can soak in the atmosphere of the event without worrying about the Tumble climb on the VELOTHON 125. The total climb is reduced by 400 metres before a grandstand finish along the iconic King Edward VII Avenue - finish line to the 2017 Tour of Britain.
The VELOTHON 60 has been launched to encourage new riders to get in the saddle at a mass-participation cycling event. A point-to-point route, starting in the picturesque town of Usk in Monmouthshire who have again decorated the streets with up-cycled bikes and finishing in Cardiff – with a route travelling south towards Pontypool and the challenging Caerphilly Mountain, before a fast descent towards the Welsh capital and a grandstand finish on the iconic Kind Edward VII Avenue.
What will the weather be like?
It’s going to be a hot one this weekend. Temperatures in South Wales are set to rise from 18 degrees celsius to 27 during the event. Hydration will be essential for a long day on the bike, so make sure to fuel up before and during the event. There are plenty of feed and water stations along the route and an extra water station has been added at the summit of the Tumble. Make sure hydration takes priority, even if you are chasing a fast time.
Where is the Event Village?
The event village is located in the heart of Cardiff city centre on the lawns outside City Hall, and will be at the centre of the action. It will be open from 06:00 - 18:00 on Sunday. The cycling experience doesn’t end once riders have crossed the finish line as big screens will be showing the Tour de France live. So sit back, relax and celebrate your achievements with some well deserved food and drink. There’ll also be entertainment and activities on offer - ideal for all cycling enthusiasts, not just those participating on the day.
What else is going on?
The Event Village has something for every cyclist and supporter. Most importantly, riders can celebrate with a tipple in the sun, and soak in even more cycling action with the Tour De France being shown on big screens.
There is plenty to satisfy the taste buds with street food and drinks from:
A wide variety of stands will be offering a range of products and information for all ages, and don’t forget to look out for the cyclist on stilts! Stands include:
What do I need at the start?
Riders will need their bike plate, race number and timing flag which have been sent out in advance.
Participants are being urged to make sure their water bottles are full before they set off. Snacks will also be important for those heading out in the first waves.
Will there be food and drinks available on the way round?
Hydration will be crucial as temperatures reach up to 26°c on Sunday. There are up to four feed/water stations along the route where riders can fuel up with Enervit Nutrition energy bars, gels and isotonic drinks. Welsh cakes, jelly babies and crisps will also be available, as well as plenty of water. The feed stations are located at:
Where can I park on race day?
Three official park and cycle Cardiff car parks (for 140 and 125KM riders) are available to pre-book. These will open at 5am on event day.
These cost £7.50, with one booking required per car. All car parks are suitable for cars with roof/bike racks. Click here to view options, and to pre-book. Pre-booking will close at midnight on 6th July 2018. If you have any queries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 02921 660 790.
For the 60km event, riders being dropped off should aim to park at Usk School (Usk, NP15 1BT). This will be open from 08:00am - 12:00 noon. This car park should not be used by people taking part in the ride as it will strictly close at midday. All day parking (for riders, who will be returning to collect their vehicles after the ride) should park at Usk Castle (Monmouth Road, Usk, NP15 1ST). This car park will be open from 08:00 - 7:00pm.
Will there be road closures?
Road closures have been significantly reduced at this year’s event but a rolling closure is still in place around the route. All the details and localised road closure maps can be found here.
Where can I leave my bike and baggage?
There will be a bag drop located in the event village in Cardiff (for 140 & 125 riders only) which opens at 06:00 and closes at 20:00 on Sunday. Attached to the bottom of every race number is a bag drop band, which can be removed from the race number and attached to any baggage you wish to leave in the bag drop area. In order to reclaim a bag, participants must present their race number.
A free, secure bike park is available from the same times in the Event Village to allow riders to relax knowing their bike is safe.
Where are the best places to watch?
The roaring crowds at last year’s VELOTHON Wales made a lasting impression on everyone involved with the event. The legendary support is set to continue this year with even more communities getting right behind those taking part.
Cardiff will again be at the heart of the action with the start/finish area located on King Edward VII Avenue as well as the buzzing Event Village on City Hall Lawns. Usk have once again decked their picturesque town with their own cycling themed creations to give riders and supporters an eye catching welcome. Usk also hosts the start of the new 60km point to point ride and is easily accessible by car.
Blaenavon have followed Usk’s lead to make their historic town centre a cycling hub. Nine local businesses have taken part in a competition to create their own VELOTHON Wales artworks, which have been displayed proudly in their shop windows.
Caerphilly Mountain is the last significant climb on all three routes. Supporters can roar their loved ones on from the roadside or welcome them back down as they descend past Caerphilly Castle.
Is there a VELOTHON Wales App?
Yes. Every rider can be followed along the course by downloading the Run 4 Wales app, available on iOS and Android.
Is it too late to get involved?
Entries are available at www.velothon.com/wales until Friday at midday. A limited number will also be available to purchase at the Event Village between 10:00 - 18:00 on Saturday. All late entries will need to collect their registration packs from the Cardiff Event Village on Saturday.