Rob Hayles launches Etape Pennines sportive

Closed-road event in County Durham to visit highest paved road in England

Late last year came the announcement of England’s first closed-road sportive, the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines, organised by the firm behind the Etape Caledonia, IMG Challenger World.


Although its place in the calendar (7 October) has seen it trumped as a first for England by the recently announced Great Manchester Cycle, the challenging, undulating route looks set to make it as attractive a proposition as its Scottish cousin. The ride, which commences in the historic city of Durham, heads out to the hills of ‘England’s backbone’, the Pennines, across 78 miles.

This week saw the official launch of the event with a recce around some of its key sections, including the highest paved road in England, Harthope Moss, with former British National Road Race Champion Rob Hayles the star attraction.

Hayles, who retired at the end of last season following a final two-year stint with British Continental team Endura Racing, reckons entrants will have a lot of work to do when the event rolls around in October.

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Rob Hayles rolls back the years on the Etape Pennines recce

“In the professional peloton we would describe this route as ‘grippy’”, he said. “I enjoyed testing out the journey that riders will eventually join me on in October. The countryside of the North Eastern Pennines, through which the route took us, provides some dramatic spectacles for riders. Hopefully, after a successful Olympics for Great Britain, more individuals will be inspired to participate in this event and raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care; a cause I both believe in and have found close to my heart”.


Entry to the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines is open now and costs £61. Visit the event website for more information.