Following last week's news that Vélo Birmingham is moving to Spring 2019, the organisers have announced a brand-new closed road sportive for 2018: Vélo South. And it might just offer cheer to everyone who missed out on a place in the RideLondon ballot...
Taking place on Sunday 23rd September, Vélo South is set to be a big one. 15,000 riders are expected - the same number as last year's Vélo Birmingham - placing it among RideLondon and Velothon Wales as the UK's biggest cycling events.
The ride will start and finish at the Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit in Chichester. From here, the organisers say, "the route will take 15,000 riders on a truly unforgettable journey through the stunning West Sussex countryside and the magnificent rolling hills of the South Downs."
Further details including the route will be announced soon, but pre-registration is open now - and demand for the sportive is expected to be high.
West Sussex and the south in general is not a part of the country underserved by sportives; we know of at least 20 cycling events based within a 25 mile radius of the event HQ at Goodwood.
But, crucially, none of these sportives are run over closed roads, and certainly none are on the scale of the proposed Vélo South sportive.
The new Vélo South sportive is sure to be popular - especially if they can keep the entry price in line with RideLondon, the only other closed-roads century ride on offer this year.
But closed roads tend to stir the sort of local opposition that contributed to this year's Vélo Birmingham being pushed back to next spring. Hopefully the organisers have taken on board lessons from that experience, and carried out consultation to bring on board local stakeholders.
Traffic-free sportives are few and far between, and it would be fantastic to see Vélo South to become a fixture on the calendar.
To be among the 15,000 riders taking part in the inaugural edition of Vélo South, pre-register now at the event website: www.velosouth.com.