You may have heard of the Velo South Sportive, a new closed road sportive scheduled for the 23rd September. Well pre-registrations close today, Wednesday 28th of February. If you want to enter the event then you must be pre-entered, so get that entry in now!
If you haven’t heard of Velo South – which had its official launch at the London Bike Show last Friday – then what is it? Well it’s a 100 mile, closed road sportive, that will take riders on a rolling route around the West Sussex country-side. Entries will be limited to 15,000 riders and if you think the organisers are being hopeful with that number, then know that pre-registrations are over 30,000 already!
Starting and finishing on the Goodwood motor circuit riders will tackle the 100 mile closed road route with around 1,700m of climbing. Although there won’t be any Alpine cols to winch yourself up, expect plenty of punchy climbs, especially up the slopes of the South Downs National Park. And for bragging rights there is a King and Queen of the Mountains challenge up South Harting, with only ten miles to the finish.
There aren’t many closed road sportives in the UK, RideLondon and the Tour of Cambridgeshire are two that I have ridden and have loved. Being able to ride knowing that the route is closed to traffic makes for a fantastic atmosphere. With the roads closed, people tend to come out and cheer you round the route, adding a festival feel to the day.
Check out the Velo South website, get registered and get in. There is plenty of info on the website, including charity, business and fast-track entries. Prices haven’t been set yet, but with most costing around £70, expect something similar. I know that can seem expensive, but you are looking at road closures, venue hire and employing a small army of helpers to keep it all moving and that doesn’t come cheap. Also it’s a commercial enterprise, you can’t expect people to work for free!
It’s a shame Velo South didn’t follow the Tour of Cambridgeshire’s format and run as a Gran Fondo, that is a race at the front and sportive behind. With the roads closed it would be nice to have an elite race, followed by a UCI style age related racing and then the main sportive. Perhaps that format could be run across all three of the closed road sportives, creating a series? Well I can dream!