Cyclists are gearing up for entries opening for one of Scotland’s most popular road cycling events – Etape Loch Ness. The sportive, which will take place around the shores of world famous loch on April 26, 2015, completely sold out within hours when it was staged for the first time earlier this year.
Entries open on Wednesday, 19 November for those who have pre-registered interest for the 2015 sportive through the event website. Entries will go on general release 48-hours later, subject to event capacity following the earlier window for those who have pre-registered. The event will be at least double the size of the inaugural Etape Loch Ness, which was limited to 1,250 slots.
The 67-mile sportive will take place on closed roads, allowing cyclists to enjoy the spectacular scenery around Loch Ness in a traffic-free environment. Event organiser Caledonian Concepts has been working closely with key partner agencies and local communities to ensure the programme of road closures results in minimal disruption.
Event director Malcolm Sutherland says, “The feedback we received from participants in the inaugural Etape Loch Ness was beyond anything we could have hoped for and was incredibly positive. It reinforced our belief that this could become a must-do event for cyclists of all abilities.
“Participants were simply blown away by the scenery and the very rare opportunity to ride the route on traffic-free roads was a huge attraction for them. When we launched this event we had no idea how overwhelming the interest would be and that is why we have, with the support of our partner agencies, decided to increase the number of entry places this year.
“We have worked closely with our partners and local communities over the past six months, listening to their feedback on what we could do to improve the event for both local residents and businesses, and for participants. We believe that the Etape Loch Ness 2015 will be another success story for the Highlands, and help to put the area on the map as a year-round cycling destination.”
Etape Loch Ness will start in Inverness city centre, snaking its way around the northern side of the loch on the A82, passing through Fort Augustus and onto the southern side where they will face one of the most challenging stages on the course – the King of the Mountain – a 4.8 mile climb which rises to 380m in height.
The route will continue on the southern side of the loch before returning to the Highland capital and the finish line. The official charity of the event is Macmillan Cancer Support. It was also supported by Etape Loch Ness in 2014, with riders generating over £60,000 for the charity.
David Haas, Inverness City Manager for Highland Council, says, “Etape Loch Ness 2014 proved to be a hugely successful event which helped to generate significant economic benefit for Inverness and the Highlands. We are committed to working with any group that stages well-organised events which benefit the local community, and we have worked closely with the organisers in recent months to ensure that this event proceeds in 2015 with minimum disruption to communities and road users.”
A spokesman for Transport Scotland adds, “We are working with Etape Loch Ness as they take forward their plans for this year’s event to ensure that it operates safely and that any disruption to the trunk road network is kept to a minimum. Plans for the race and the associated road closures are at an early stage and those living along the route will be consulted as part of the process.”
For further information and to enter Etape Loch Ness, visit www.etapelochness.com. Regular updates will appear on social media through Facebook www.facebook.com/etapelochness and Twitter @EtapeLochNess #etapeln15