Today, Sunday 8 May, thousands of cyclists from all corners of Scotland and across the UK took part in the Marie Curie Etape Caledonia, the UK’s premier closed road sportive, to help celebrate the events 10th anniversary.
A decade after its debut, the Marie Curie Etape Caledonia is still going strong, with more than 30,000 participants having taken their place at the historic start line in the idyllic Scottish town of Pitlochry. The event now boasts double the amount of riders but still prides itself in its infectious and unique atmosphere.
Joined by Olympic Champion and World Record Holder, Chris Boardman, the cyclists began at the crack of dawn to navigate the stunning 81-mile closed road course, covering a total ascent of 1,196m. The atmosphere was electric from the offset with riders setting-off determined and in high spirits from Pitlochry.
Taking in the stunning Perthshire scenery, cyclists meandered around Loch Tummel and Loch Rannoch before approaching the steeps of Schiehallion and returning to Pitlochry to crowds of cheering supporters.
Speaking at the finish line, Chris Boardman enthused: “It’s been a lovely ride this morning, very civilised. I found a nice group of people to sit behind so definitely found it easier than in 2014. The weather was great, very little wind and not too cold. I’ll absolutely be back next year with a bigger group of people which will be great.”
First to cross the finish line was Mark Walker from Newborough: “This was my first ever event five years ago and I’ve been back every year since, with my times getting better and better; I love it. The course is brilliant, there is a bit of everything and the weather this year was so much kinder than the last five year. I’ll definitely be back!
By the end of 2016, Marie Curie will have raised more than £1.5million over the past five years of the Marie Curie Etape Caledonia.
Megan Melville from Marie Curie said: “It’s been fantastic to hear the stories from the cyclists about their inspiration for taking part and we’re so grateful for their support. Every pound raised for Marie Curie makes a big difference, meaning our nurses are able to give more care and support to people living with a terminal illness and their families.”
Andy Knee, Managing Director of event organisers IMG added: “The Marie Curie Etape Caledonia is an immensely popular sportive that continues to go from strength to strength every year. It’s absolutely fantastic to be back for our 10th anniversary. The passion the cyclists have for this event and the great work so many of them do to support Marie Curie is overwhelming – it’s fantastic to get to celebrate with them here today.”
Credited as the UK’s first closed road sportive back in 2007, the sportive quickly established itself as a bucket list event within the cycling community. The Marie Curie Etape Caledonia is one of the pinnacle events in the UK’s cycling calendar.
Appealing to a wide cross section of people, from cycle club enthusiasts and recreational cyclists to fundraisers and first-timers, everyone has their own unique Marie Curie Etape Caledonia story.
Hopeful participants for the 2017 event are able to register their interest online. Those who register will get an exclusive 48 hour priority window to enter the event when places go on sale later this year.
More information can be found at www.etapecaledonia.co.uk