The Dragon Ride, one of the oldest and most iconic sportives in the UK, returns to Margam Park in South Wales on Sunday 9 June 2019.
Now in its 16th year, the Dragon sees riders tackle epic climbs through the stunning Welsh scenery of the Brecon Beacons. With a well earned reputation as one of the UK's classic sportive challenges, thousands of cyclists are expected to secure a place in this legendary event when entries open at 10am on Wednesday 17 October.
The Dragon Ride was first held back in 2004 when event organiser Lou Lusardi, inspired by the popularity of Italian Gran Fondos in his home country, held the first Dragon Ride. Just 280 cyclists took part in that first edition. At the time there were only a handful of sportives in the UK and Lusardi saw an opportunity to bring this type of event to South Wales.
The popularity of the inaugural event and the demand for a new cycling challenge saw the Dragon Ride more than double in size each season over the next few years. Continual growth since has seen the current event become one of the largest UK open road sportives, and a must-do event in the cycling calendar.
Human Race took over the organisation of the Dragon Ride in 2012 when the start/finish moved to the current venue, the picturesque Margam Park near Port Talbot. The Dragon Ride has always been an event at the forefront of cycling innovation, being the first to use online entries and disposable timing chips. 2014 saw the introduction of the mammoth 300km Dragon Devil distance, and in 2015 a three-day Dragon Tour was created with the Dragon Ride as the finale.
The evolution of the event has always had the spirit of Wales at its heart combined with a true passion for cycling. Last year saw the event enjoy a brief flirtation with the gallic glamour of the Tour de France as Human Race were acquired by Tour organisers ASO and the humble Dragon Ride was reinvented as the Dragon Ride L'Etape Wales by Le Tour de France.
Thankfully (at least for slow-typing subs), the organisers have reverted to the Dragon Ride for 2019, in a brand refresh designed to highlight the heritage of the event and celebrate the local landscape.
The four different route options (100km, 153km, 223km, 300km) remain unchanged, each showcasing incredible scenery and allowing riders to experience the wild and rugged beauty of the Welsh countryside, from sweeping descents to challenging climbs such as the Devil's Elbow, Rhigos and Devil's Staircase.
Nick Rusling, CEO of Human Race Events, said: "We are delighted to announce the launch of the 2019 Dragon Ride. The event has historically sold out in just a few days, so don't miss out on your chance to claim a place!"
"With beautiful scenery, epic climbs and a fantastic finish line experience, the event really does have it all."
Entries will open at 10am on Wednesday 17 October at www.dragonride.co.uk.