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Closed roads for Tour of Cambridgeshire Gran Fondo and Chrono time trial

Time trial will be UK's first UCI World Cycling Tour event...

The sportive calendar gets another rare closed-road event next June with what organisers say is the UK's first Continental-style closed road gran fondo race/sportive & UCI World Cycling Tour closed road time trial event.

The Tour of Cambridgeshire Gran Fondo and Chrono takes place over the weekend of June 6 and 7 next year, with its start and finish at the Peterborough Arena.

It's a two-part event, with the time trial on Saturday June 6 and the Gran Fondo race/sportive the following day.

Organisers say the Gran Fondo will be the first of its kind in the UK with a race at the front and a sportive for the rest of the field and follows a well established format already very successful in mainland Europe.

There are 10,000 places available on a first come, first served basis with seeding for the front racing groups.

The 132km loop through the Cambridgeshire countryside promises a mix of flatland with small sharp climbs similar to the terrain in Belgium.

Organisers promise well stocked feed stations with mechanical and medical assistance along the course to look after riders.

To kick off the weekend's riding, the Saturday will see the UK's first ever UCI World Cycling Tour event, the 28km closed road Tour of Cambridgeshire Chrono time trial.

The course is described as 'sporting' and riders will launch into it from a from a professional style start ramp with electronic chip timing.

Rider limit is 700 and is open to all levels. The first 25% in each Masters age category in both male and female will qualify for the 2015 UCI World Amateur Road Championships time trial in Denmark in September.

Male and female winners of both the Gran Fondo and Chrono will each receive £1,500 and there will also be equal prizes for male and female Masters age group classifications. Combined prizes for the overall on both events will also be awarded.

Entry for the Gran Fondo is £56 and the Chrono £34 with a limited joint entry of £80 also available.

Tom Caldwell from organisers Vericool Sports Management explains how the event came about: “Until now British riders have had to travel abroad to compete in proper closed road gran fondos, so when the UCI approached us about organising the UCWT level time trial and we secured the closed roads, we realised this is the right time to bring a truly authentic race/sportive gran fondo to the UK. It’s been a lot of hard work and investment to get to this stage but worth it to have the first events of their kind in the UK."

Organisers acknowledge that the weekend of June 6-7 is a busy one. Sunday June 7 is also the date of the Wiggle Dragon Ride and there are at least a dozen other sportives around the UK on that day.

Vericool spokesman Patrick Trainor told "The calendar is so packed that any date was a clash, it's also clashing with the Dragon ride but that was the only date the UCI would give us for the TT.

"I'll be gutted if the Giro gran fondo in Northern Ireland is that weekend as well as it's allegedly going over my old training roads in the Mourne Mountains."

For more details see the Tour of Cambridgeshire website.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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