Sport horseshoe

Wrexham’s Olympic silver medallist Chris Bartley is set to get on his bike for this year’s Etape Cymru closed road sportive event.

Bartley became the first Welsh Olympic medallist at London 2012 with silver in the lightweight rowing men’s fours.

The 28-year-old from Wrexham was one of a record 30 Welsh athletes at London 2012 , which is Wales’ best representation at the games since 1908.

The Etape Cymru is expected to attract over 1500 participants and with its 3000 metres of climbing is likely to challenge even the toughest sportive rider.

“I am really looking forward to taking part in the Etape Cymru,” said Bartley. “There are some really tough climbs in the route, so it is going to be a hard day in the saddle.”

This year’s race will start from Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse and the 92-mile closed road route will also pass through Llangollen, Carrog and Minera before taking on some of the toughest climbs in the Clwydian range.

This includes the Panorama, World’s End, The Shelf and the Horseshoe Pass where riders will once again have the chance to measure their climbing ability by taking part in the Horseshoe Challenge.

The event is under new management this year with Human Race taking the reigns. Last year’s organisers, K-Extreme, came in for heavy criticism of the event on a number of fronts including problems with signage, cyclists being bunched together, feed stations that ran out of food and drink and roads not being properly closed to traffic (our coverage of last year’s issues attracted widespread attention from the cycling community, receiving 47 comments from riders as seen here).

Human Race have promised to rectify last year’s problems by staggering the start, using wider roads, making changes to marshalling and traffic management and improving feed stations.

Another Olympian who has had a successful year is Etape event embassador Geraint Thomas who added another gold medal to his collection by winning the team pursuit alongside Peter Kennaugh, Ed Clancy and Steven Burke.

Thomas, who rode part of the Etape Cymru course earlier this year became only the fourth Welshman to win multiple Olympic gold medals.

“The route of the Etape Cymru in North Wales is amazing,” said Thomas. “People from all over the UK are going to have a fantastic day out, it’s the kind of route that makes me proud to be a Welsh cyclist.”

He added: “The great local support that we’re famous for is going to make this a very special day on the cycling calendar. I wish the best to everyone who is riding the event, it’ll be tough but the closed roads are going to be a top experience.”

The official national charity partner for Etape Cymru 2012 is Macmillan Cancer Support. The partnership will see Macmillan join forces with Human Race for the event and funds raised from participants will be used to help Macmillan support not only people affected by cancer, but everyone their cancer has an impact on, from partners, to children, to friends and carers.

The local charity partner is Nightingale House which provides specialist palliative care services, completely free-of-charge, to patients and their families across a wide area stretching from Wrexham, Flintshire and East Denbighshire to Barmouth and the border towns including Oswestry and Whitchurch.

Entry costs £55. For more information, please visit: www.etape-cymru.co.uk