Road racing set to return to the Isle of Wight

After the disappointment of the Tour of Britain cancellation last September, road racing is set to return to the Isle of Wight this May

Views from the Military Road towards the finish line above Freshwater. Photo: Jack Elton-Walters
Views from the Military Road. Photo: Jack Elton-Walters
(Image credit: Jack Elton-Walters)

Last September, the Tour of Britain was set to visit the Isle of Wight for the first time. Following the globally significant news of the Queen's death, on a local scale this saw the cancellation of the final three stages of the Tour of Britain, the last of which was set to be an uphill finish above the Needles on the Isle of Wight.

Now with news of a possible disagreement over costs between the race's organiser and the host local authority, the possibility of a visit from professional racers is unfortunately looking less likely.

Despite all that, the efforts of local race organisers mean that road racing – albeit amateur – is set to return to the Island in May this year.

The Wightlink-Wight Mountain IOW Road Race has been scheduled for Sunday 21st May 2023, with the women's race starting at 10:00 and the men's following at 13:00.  It will be a Regional A race for 2nd, 3rd, 4th and Junior category racers, with the HQ based at popular cycling cafe Chessell Pottery.

The proposed routes will see the women cover 70km and the men 80km, with laps of an approximately 27km circuit around Brook, Brighstone, Shorwell and Chale.

This will be followed by a finishing loop from Brook along the Middle Road to Freshwater Bay. After a tough ascent, the finish line is planned on the false flat after the first climb from Freshwater Bay on the Military Road.

"This is fantastic news for the Isle of Wight, especially following the disappointment of the final stage of the Tour of Britain being cancelled in September, and will give the Island’s cycling community the opportunity to either race against some of the UK’s top riders on their local roads or just enjoy a day of spectating," says event organiser Julie Cooper.

"We’re really excited about bringing road racing back to the Island after a 20-year absence and hope that this Wightlink-Wight Mountain IOW Road Race, with the support of our sponsors, will become an established annual event on the national cycling calendar."

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Jack Elton-Walters hails from the Isle of Wight, and would be quick to tell anyone that it's his favourite place to ride. He has covered a varied range of topics for Cycling Weekly, producing articles focusing on tech, professional racing as well as cycling culture. He moved on to work for Cyclist Magazine in 2017 where he stayed for four years until going freelance. He now returns to Cycling Weekly from time-to-time to cover racing and write longer features for print and online. He is not responsible for misspelled titles on box outs