Wales is set to play host to its first UCI categorised professional race in 2015 after the announcement of a new one-day event, which is due to take place on June 14. The Velothon Wales will consist of a 120km mass-participation sportive in the morning with a full professional race on the same day.
Beginning and finishing in the capital Cardiff, the sportive route will take in Caerphilly Mountain and the Tumble climb in the Brecon Beacons, which will be covered during stage nine of this year's Tour of Britain. Caerphilly is well known to riders who’ve ridden the Tour of Britain in recent years, as the short ascent includes gradients of 17%. The sportive will complete one loop covering these climbs, totalling 1,400 metres of ascent. The professionals are likely to tackle it more than once, making for a challenging overall route that is unlikely to end in a sprint finish.
Velothon has organised similar events in Berlin, Vienna and Philadelphia. The Velothon or ProRace Berlin is their biggest success story. Previous winners of the race include André Greipel and Marcel Kittel and race organiser Roland Hofer is hoping Wales will be equally successful.
“Having worked as Race Director for Velothon Berlin since 2009, I am hugely excited to be part of the team that will be delivering Velothon Wales,” Hofer said in an official statement. “Each year Velothon Berlin attracts a stellar elite field which, combined with thousands of participants taking on the exact same route, creates a truly memorable day of cycling. We are looking forward to Velothon Wales emulating its success in every respect.”
The Velothon event will bring the total of UCI categorised races in Great Britain up to five, after the inauguration of the Women’s Tour of Britain this year and the expected three-day Tour of Yorkshire in May next season, created with Tour de France organiser ASO.
The Velothon organisers are hoping to attract a strong field in the professional race, while there are 10,000 places available in the sportive. There is also an option to ride a shorter 50km version of the route.
The race category will not be announced until the UCI calendar has been finalised in October, however it is expected to receive the same category 1.1 as ProRace Berlin.