New British Cycling Sportive Grading System


Posted Thursday 5th December 2013 –

British Cycling have launched a new sportive grading system that rates an events difficulty based on a one to five scale. The system has been developed in conjunction with IMG Challenger World, the organisers behind the Etape Series and is said to help riders pick the rides best suited to them.

The grading system is based on a rides total distance and the total ascent using the chart below with the coloured bands representing the grading levels.


Unsurprisingly, IMG Challenger World are the first organiser to sign up to the new system with the Etape Caledonia and Etape Pennines both being graded as a 3 despite be very different types of courses. For comparison the Etape Du Tour would predictably score a 5 and the Marmotte is off the scale so maybe they need to add a Hors Categorie band as well for the really tough rides.

We’re not completely convinced, a 100 mile ride is still a pretty significant undertaking no matter how flat and we think there are other factors besides distance and total ascent that affect how difficult a ride is but we can see how it may be useful to people new to the sport who want to aim for increasingly difficult events.