A new closed-road sportive taking in some of South Wales' most spectacular coastal scenery and hills has been announced for 2015. Velothon Wales will take place on 14 June 2015 as part of a weekend of cycling that will include a UCI-sanctioned pro race on the same course, similar in format to established events like the Tour of Flanders challenge and the recent RideLondon-Surrey 100.
Up to 10,000 riders will take part in the sportive, which starts in central Cardiff before taking two routes of 120km and 50km through the Welsh countryside. The sportive will feature a King of the Mountains challenge at the legendary Tumble climb in the Brecon Beacons, while a kids Velothon will be held on Saturday 13 June. Entries for the Velothon are not yet open, but participants are invited to register their interest now to take advantage of a one-week window before sales are opened to the general public.
Taking place after the sportive, the 200km professional race is likely to attract some of the world's best teams and riders, while fans will no doubt take the chance to catch a glimpse of the peloton along the route to the finish in the centre of Cardiff. More information will be announced when the UCI calendar is released at the end of September.
Velothon Wales is the latest event in the UCI Velothon Majors series - an international cycling series with events taking place in cities including Berlin, Philadelphia and Vienna. Cardiff is the first UK city to be selected as a host city for a Velothon Majors Series event, with the organisers saying the decision is based on 'the surge in popularity the sport of cycling has witnessed over the last few years, as well as the provision for two truly stunning routes.'
For an idea of what to expect, check out footage from Velothon Berlin earlier this year, which welcomed 13,000 sportive riders and top pro teams including Garmin Sharp, Team Katusha and Team NettApp-Endura. Previous winners of Velothon Berlin include Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel. What chance of Welsh stars like Team Sky's Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe competing for a home win in the inaugural Velothon Wales?
The 120km route is a challenging route, incorporating two famous and notoriously difficult climbs.
Riders will leave Cardiff to the east, visiting Newport and Usk, before entering the Brecon Beacons National Park to tackle the legendary Tumble climb - a highlight of stage 9 at this year's Tour of Britain and home to Velothon Wales' King of the Mountains challenge.
The route then heads south via Potypool and Newbridge on its way to Caerphilly for one final climb up the stunning Caerphilly mountain, before finishing with a fast decent towards the finish line located in the heart of Cardiff city centre.
Total climb: 1403 metres
The 50km route will leave Cardiff to the east, heading towards Newport before going West towards Caerphilly where riders will be able to take in the sights of the majestic Caerphilly Castle.
With most of the hard work out of the way, all that's left is for riders to roll into Cardiff from the north and push for one final time before being cheered across the iconic finish line.
Total climb: 513.8 metres