Back for its second year and on a bigger scale, Etape Loch Ness saw thousands of cyclists take part in the closed-road sportive on the shores of the world’s most famous loch today (Sunday, April 26).
With the event selling out all of its 3,300-plus places, the 66-mile traffic free route leading from Inverness around the iconic loch was buzzing with riders.
The fastest male rider was Jamie Henderson from Limits Technology in a time of 2 hours 51 minutes and 35 seconds. The fastest female cyclist was Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Team Scotland member Lee Craigie from Cannondale UK in a time of 2 hours 57 minutes and 33 seconds.
There was also a special prize for the quickest male and female riders to the top of the Glendoe summit outside of Fort Augustus. Jamie and Lee jumped off their bikes at the finish line in central Inverness to be crowned King and Queen of the Mountain.
Jamie completed the King of the Mountain stage in 19 minutes and 56 seconds, while Lee, from Inverness, took 23 minutes and 10 seconds. They were each presented with a red polka dot jersey.
Event director Malcolm Sutherland says, “After getting off on such a strong footing last year, we’re pleased to say that this year’s event was bigger and better.
“The swell in numbers was fantastic, and the many months of planning and organisation have clearly paid off, as we’ve had some very positive feedback from participants.
“A big thank you goes to all of our partner agencies, communities along the route and to the public for their support today and in the planning stages of Etape Loch Ness. Together we are helping to put this area on the map as a world-class destination for cycling all year round.”
The threefold growth of Etape Loch Ness has provided a boost for its official charity partner Macmillan Cancer Support, with over a hundred thousand pounds raised for the cause.
Local businesses have also scored, with accommodation providers, shops and eateries enjoying an off-season economic spin off.
The first of the cyclists got underway at 6.20am on the route from Inverness, passing through Drumnadrochit, Invermoriston, Fort Augustus and Dores before returning to the finish line in the Highland capital.
Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, says: “2015 has been another hugely successful year for Etape Loch Ness, with the event attracting thousands of participants to take part in the closed-road sportive. Scotland is the perfect stage for events and Etape is a great boost for Inverness and the surrounding area.”
Ian Lulham from Macmillan Cancer Support adds, ‘We are really pleased that the second Etape Loch Ness has lived up to expectations. With hundreds of riders choosing to support Macmillan through taking part in this event, their fundraising will help us to continue to support people affected by cancer.”
The second quickest male rider was Gavin Beaton from Moray Firth CC in 2 hours 55 minutes and 59 seconds while third was Paul Gallacher from Fife Cycling 2000 in a time of 2 hours 56 minutes and 14 seconds. The second fastest female was Ingrid Kidd from Angus Bike Chain in 3 hours 7 minutes and 11 seconds, while Rachel Crichton was third fastest in 3 hours 18 minutes and 06 seconds.
Registration of interest for the 2016 Etape Loch Ness can be made on the website at www.etapelochness.com
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