Wessex sportive adds racing, mountain biking for '08

Wessex Cycle Festival expands

The 2008 Wessex Cycle Festival will add a high profile Premier Calendar road race and a mountain bike enduro to the popular Tour of Wessex cyclosportive. The event will traverse Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire over the three days of the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, May 24-26, 2008.

Approximately 120 professional cyclists, including continental teams and the best British riders, will race for the road race leader's yellow jersey on the roads of the South West region, while covering over 300 miles during the three-day race. The routes for the cyclosportive and the road race are exactly the same, with the sportive starting just ten minutes after the road race each day.

The route of the Tour of Wessex Road Race and details of the other events taking place over the three days, including the three-stage cyclosportive, MTB Enduro, British Cycling Go Ride, MTB Trials Competition and a cycle exhibition, are:

Stage One - Saturday 24th May, will start at Hadspen House and pass close to a variety of historic sites, including King Alfred's Tower, Stourhead House, Wells Cathedral, Cheddar Gorge and Glastonbury Tor, before returning to Hadspen House for the stage finish. Distance: 91.7 miles.

Stage Two - Sunday 25th May, will start at Hadspen House and pass close to Sherborne Castle, Cerne Abbas, Lulworth Cove, Corfe Castle and Milton Abbas, before returning to Hadspen House for the stage finish. Distance: 103 miles.

Stage Three - Monday 26th May, will start at Bridgewater and pass the Quantock Hills, Dunster Castle, Exmoor National Park, before returning to Hadspen House for the stage finish. Distance: 106 miles.

The Tour of Wessex Cyclosportive, one of only four British cyclosportive events on the UCI calendar, was first held in 2006 and has grown from 900 entries in its first year to the current entry field of 3,000.

Event details

- Registration opens at Hadspen House at noon on Friday 23rd May.

- All stages of the Tour of Wessex finish at Hadspen House.

- There is a 25-mile family ride on Saturday 24th May 2008 starting at noon from Hadspen House to Glastonbury Tor and back through the Somerset levels.

- There is a 50-mile leisure ride on Saturday 24th May 2008 starting at noon taking in King Alfred's Tower and Glastonbury.

- The MTB Enduro is on Sunday, 25th May. It starts at 10:30am and riders can choose their distance, from 20km, 50km or 100km. Each lap is 10km around the Hadspen House estate. Participation can be as an individual or as teams of two or four.

- Go Ride events for all the family will run Saturday and Sunday starting at noon.

- The MTB Trials Competition practice day will be all day Saturday 24th May 2008, with the competition starting at 2 pm on Sunday, 25th May.

© BikeRadar 2007

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