Thou­sands de­scend on High­land cy­cle event

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

THOU­SANDS of cy­clists de­scended upon the High­lands as Etape Loch Ness re­turned to the roads around the iconic loch on Sun­day April 23.

The sportive sold out 5,200 places in 50 hours, with cy­cling fans trav­el­ling from far and wide for the op­por­tu­nity to ride through some of the coun­try’s most stun­ning scenery on traf­fic-free roads.

The fastest male rider around the 66-mile course was Andy Cun­ning­ham of All Ter­rain Cy­cling in a time of two hours, 48 min­utes and 20 sec­onds. The fastest fe­male cy­clist was Carol Hinch­cliffe from Stone­haven CC in two hours, 55 min­utes and six sec­onds.

A red polka dot jer­sey was also awarded to the fastest male and fe­male par­tic­i­pants to reach the top of the Glen­doe sum­mit near Fort Au­gus­tus. Andy and Carol were also crowned King and Queen of the Mountain for their ef­forts on the mon­strous 4.8-mile climb.

Event di­rec­tor Mal­colm Suther­land said: ‘ The fourth Etape Loch Ness has been the big­gest yet, bring­ing thou­sands of keen cy­clists to the High­lands to ride through our glo­ri­ous coun­try­side.

‘Months of plan­ning and many vol­un­teers go into or­gan­is­ing an event on this scale, and to see so many par­tic­i­pants – many rais­ing an in­cred­i­ble amount of money for char­ity – in­stils a great sense of pride in every­one in­volved.

‘We would like to of­fer a huge thank you to all of our part­ner agen­cies, com­mu­ni­ties along the route and the pub­lic, with­out whose sup­port Etape Loch Ness would not hap­pen.’

Many par­tic­i­pants have used the op­por­tu­nity to raise much-needed funds for good causes across the coun­try. Of­fi­cial char­ity Macmil­lan Cancer Sup­port has re­ceived a wel­come boost from char­i­ta­ble rid­ers, who have raised around £200,000.

Lo­cal busi­nesses – in­clud­ing hotels, restau­rants and shops – have also en­joyed an off-sea­son rise in trade.

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