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Velo South - 100-mile closed road sportive around Sussex officially launched

Organisers of Velo Birmingham launch 100 mile closed road event in Sussex route announced - local boy Vecchiojo looks at the map and gives us an idea of what to expect

Velo South, a new 100-mile closed road sportive starting and finishing at GoodWood in West Sussex  officially launched today at the London Bike Show today. 

The event takes place on the 23rd of September and over 25,000 people have already pre-registered. Entry for the 15,000 actual places on the ride opens on March 1 (next Thursday) and given the level of pre-reg interest they’re expected to go fast. 

So what can you expect from the route if you enter? Well, for starters there is 1700 metres of climbing over the whole 100 mile route and this being Southern England that climbing is going to be spread out over a lot of lumpy miles rather a couple big climbs interspersed with fast flats - like you’d get on the continent. This will be a test of a particularly British kind through some beautiful countryside, but it will be a test.

We haven't got the detailed route yet, so some of what follows might change but to give you an idea of what sort of a challenge the ride is likely to be, we asked Vecchiojo to give us the benefit of his local knowledge on what we know of the route so far:

“The amount of people that have struggled with Sussex thinking it's flat down south is quite high… also the nature of the climbs plays with people, you've got short sharp grunts and long steady drags that go on for miles, literally”

“Chichester sits at the bottom of the Downs so there's always a climb out, unless you go South, but the southern slopes of the Downs tend to rise up gently as opposed to the northern scarp which is shorter and a lot steeper (you'll discover this on the way back) so it'll be a nice climb onto the hills, and a great view if the sun's out

“From there it’s looks like you'll join the main A road to Petworth - some feat by the organisers if that’s closed, so possibly they’ve got an alternative route - if  the route is on the road at Petworth it’s wide, but it climbs up a fold in the Downs and is a steady climb, hope for a tailwind, the descent off Duncton Down is fast and requires care at the bottom as there's some interesting corners, then it's rolling fast roads to Pulborough

“It’s fast roads again as you head south east towards Henfield and you turn north onto the more secret Sussex roads where you'll discover that even though you're off the Downs it's not flat, at all. This part of Sussex, the Weald is famous for its relentlessly lumpy terrain with some short sharp climbs and descents to deal with…

“There's a flat bit at 80 miles as you cross the flood plain near Petersfield, you'll want to rest you legs a little here as there's that climb up the north face of the Downs to deal with the climb out of South Harting, it's the last big challenge of the day and a cheeky little hill, and fun to do with nearly 90 miles in the legs, there appears to be a KOM challenge up here, so you know, give it your best.”

Anything else we should know Jo?

“It looks to take in all the best that Sussex has to offer, the rolling South Downs via both the easy way up and the hard way, and some of the quiet country lanes that criss-cross the Weald like a spider's web, there will be times when you'll not believe you're in one of the most populated parts of the country.    that said there's a bit to much of main road for me (as is the way of sportives and the need to shift herds quickly) but if they're closed for the event they'll be an absolute blast.

Velo South Starts and finishes at the Goodwood Circuit - we’re guessing with a Paris Roubaix lap at the finish. If you know your cycling history you’ll also know that Goodwood hosted the 1982 Cycling World Championships - and in a pleasing touch, Mandy Jones who won the women’s race for Great Britain was at the launch today. 

The price of entry hasn’t been announced yet, but the event is being staged by the organisers of Velo Birmingham - which returns with a new closed road route round the West Midlands next year. Velo Birmingham 2017 cost £75 for a standard entry or £115 for fast track entries plus booking fees of £3.75 and £5.75 respectively. We’d expect entries to cost something in that region also - as a comparison this year’s Ride London/Surrey costs £69 to enter - slightly less but you do have to share the roads with a lot more people. 

Velo South is also offering 100 team entries to businesses - which includes a training ride around Goodwood with former England rugby captain (whose pretty keen on cycling) Martin Johnson. You can apply for an entry to ride and raise money for one of their charity partners - Alzheimer’s Society, British Heart Foundation, or Age UK West Sussex.

To find out more visit the Velo South website at's founder and first editor, nowadays to be found riding a spreadsheet. Tony's journey in cycling media started in 1997 as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning - finally handing on the reins in 2021 to Jack Sexty. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes, though he'd like to own a carbon bike one day.

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RichmondTransits | 5 years ago

Pros: route seems nice and on closed roads, Goodwood is a great venue 

Cons: they charge for parking on top of the entry, which is a bit steep and if you don't pay for premium entry ON TOP, then you have to trek the day before to pick-up your registration. That alone is a total no-no for me, I regret registering now.

peted76 | 5 years ago
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Wait what.. £25 to park your car for the day on top of the rest of it... that's mental!


If you're in the cheap seats it's.. £79, plus 5% booking fee, plus £25 parking = £108.. that's more than a pound per mile pedalled.



andytye1 | 5 years ago
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I was seriously interested in this, but the price is just too high. I get we're paying a premium for closed roads, but it looks like it's £25 alone just to park your car at Goodwood. I've got entry into this years Etape du Tour and it was significantly less than this.

I've also heard the rumours about the poor organisation in Birmingham previously - I'd rather not take the risk.

50kcommute | 5 years ago

Ghost ride?

stomec | 5 years ago
1 like

I would recommend people give this a miss at least in the first year. The organisation for Velo Birmingham was dire with those in the last waves arriving at feed and drink stations where everything had run out. 

Over £100 for a sportive is bad enough but no way would I pay again for this level of incompetence!

JonD | 5 years ago
1 like

The usual 'no recumbents' bollocks...

il sole | 5 years ago

I just hope the nimbys don't try and ruin it like they did in birmingham...

I'll be doing it!

Daveyraveygravey | 5 years ago
1 like

Excited for this, my manor.  Not sure I want the rest of the country to realise how beautiful (and quiet) it can be!  Duncton is a gerat descent, couple of big left handers near the bottom to watch out for. Looks like it is on the old Roman Road for a chunk, which will be good without cars, but could be horrendous if there's a northerly blowing down it...

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