Wales is set to host a professional one-day race in 2012. ‘Velothon Britain’ is pencilled to take place on 13 May 2012, taking in a proposed route around South Wales.
Starting off as a Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) 1.2-ranked race, organisers are aiming for top-tier WorldTour status by 2014.
The event is being organised by British Cycling and Upsolut Sports UK, a subsidiary of Upsolut Sports AG who organise the Vattenfall Cyclassics WorldTour event and the Skoda Velothon Berlin. It has the backing of the Welsh Government, who are keen to see a top-level, one-day sporting event run in Wales.
Although the British event is still in the planning stages, it will mirror the format of the Berlin event with a professional race accompanying cyclo-sportives of 60 and 120km plus family and children’s rides on closed roads.
The currently proposed route includes Cardiff, Newport, Pontypool, Powys, Ebbw Vale and Caerphilly. This year, a stage of the Tour of Britain ran from Welshpool to Caerphilly and attracted large numbers of spectators.
This all-inclusive format has a number of benefits, not least that the sportives and family rides will help to offset the huge cost of hosting a professional bike race. The event also fits in with British Cycling’s aim to get more people on bikes and to promote cycling at grass-roots level – and with Britain’s elevated status as a leading cycling nation.
In its opening year, Velothon Berlin attracted 10,000 participants. This year’s pro race included teams from WorldTour squads Garmin-Cervelo, Leopard-Trek, BMC, HTC-Highroad, Omega Pharma-Lotto and Vacansoleil. It was won by Skil-Shimano’s Marcel Kittel.
Britain hosts two other events on the 2012 UCI Europe Tour calendar, the Rutland Melton CiCLE Classic on April 29 and the Tour of Britain, September 9-16.