A closed-road cycling event which circles Scotland’s most iconic loch has sold out in record time. Thousands of cyclists have signed up to take part in Etape Loch Ness, with general entry filling up after just 51 hours despite an increase in capacity. Cyclists who missed out on one of the highly sought after spaces can still register through the event’s official charity, Macmillan Cancer Support.
A limited number of entries are being accepted from participants who pledge to raise a minimum of £100 for Macmillan Cancer Support – the official charity partner of the 66-mile sportive which takes place on Sunday, April 24 next year.
Event director Malcolm Sutherland says, “We increased the field of entry for 2016 following the high demand for our last event, so to sell out faster than ever is incredible. It’s a real testament to the reputation Etape Loch Ness has built in the last two years.
“Priority entry opened on Tuesday for those who had registered their interest on our website, and by the time general entry opened on Thursday morning we were well on our way to maximum capacity.
“We are now seeing the number of Macmillan Cancer Support riders rising, and it is fantastic to see so many people coming forward to fundraise for worthwhile causes at Etape Loch Ness.”
Macmillan Cancer Support has been the official charity partner of Etape Loch Ness since its inception in 2014, and participants have raised over £245,000 so far to support its work with cancer patients and their families. The charity provides a number of services across the Highlands, including a team of specialist care nurses and mobile information centres.
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, adds, “Etape Loch Ness has been an incredibly popular event since launching in 2014, and we are delighted to be supporting it through our National Programme.
“With thousands of riders participating in the closed-road sportive we can expect to see a real benefit to the local area, along with wonderful efforts for charity.”
Riders are being encouraged to #ridehappy in the Etape Loch Ness 2016, following Inverness’ recent nomination as the happiest place to live in Scotland. The closed-road sportive, which begins in Inverness and skirts along the edge of the loch, is guaranteed to bring a smile to any cycling enthusiast’s face.
Following the A82 along the northern side of the loch, the route passes through Fort Augustus onto the south side for the most challenging leg of the course – the King of the mountain – a 4.8 mile climb which rises to 380m in height. The route then continues around the southern side of the loch before returning to the Highland capital.