County Durham event organised for August 30 to fill the gap left after the Etape Pennines was axed

A new sportive has been set up to replace the Etape Pennines – with the new organisers boasting of the route’s increased difficulty.

The popular sportive was axed last Autumn when organisers admitted that local support of the event had diminished because of the decision to move it from its original October date to mid-July.

But County Durham cyclists were adamant to see the event revived and have set up a similar sportive, aptly named the Roof of England.

Taking place on Sunday, August 30, the route has three routes and will take in Weardale and Teesdale, like its predecessor Etape.

There are three routes to choose from (30 miles, 50 miles and 90 miles) and already half of the 500 allocated spaces have been snapped up.

Because there are no road closures during the event, riders will set off in groups of 20 at separate intervals with marshals occupying turns.

Organiser Cameron Gordon, who has worked with another dozen people from the local community to arrange the sportive, said that he wants “people to understand that the route is very tough but also friendly”, adding that due to the event’s start point in St John’s Chapel, “there’s no getting away from the hills”.

He told the Northern Echo: “The sportive is harder and longer than the Etape. We wanted to show that this is the location for people who want to test themselves.”

For more information and to book, visit the Roof of England website.