Plan your 2013 cycling year

Now’s the time to start thinking about which major sportives you fancy riding this summer’s before everything sells out.

>> Save up to 31% with a magazine subscription. Enjoy the luxury of home delivery and never miss an issue <<

It’s what winter evenings are made for – a spot of advance planning and the chance to look forward to some sunnier, warmer rides.

After a comparatively quiet 2012 I’m looking forward to at least a couple of epic rides this year including the Étape du Tour. It would be a timely return, 15 years after my aborted first attempt.

I wasn’t alone quitting in 1998, still regarded as the toughest ever Étape. Ridiculously hot temperatures combined with climbs of the Croix de Fer, Telegraphe, Galibier and summit finish at Les Deux-Alpes meant that finishing inside 10 hours was a major feat that day.

And that’s the attraction of this year’s event: it really shouldn’t be too difficult. It’s just 130 kilometres and with just two major climbs including the summit finish. Most importantly for anyone who has suffered the logistical nightmare that the Étape often is, this year’s route is a loop, replicating the penultimate stage of this year’s Tour de France at Annecy.

Also on my ‘to do’ list is the Dragon Ride at the beginning of June. I last rode the Welsh classic a couple of years ago and had a thoroughly good time. The Bwlch has to be the best climb in the UK, but just one ascent is enough for an old chap, so I will be sticking with the 125-kilometre route.
Now all I need to do is get riding – only six months to go!

This article was first published in the January 3 issue of Cycling Weekly. You can also read our magazines on Zinio and download from the Apple store.