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The Classics - Lapierre to Sponsor UK Sportive Versions of Paris-Roubaix, Flanders and Strade Bianche

by Nick Gregory

GB Flag

French bicycle manufacturer Lapierre are to become title sponsors of a unique series of Classics-inspired sportives in the UK in 2015. Lapierre are currently the biggest bike company in France, and supply bikes to top French professional team FDJ. Lapierre bikes are available in the UK via distributor Hotlines

The three sportives, which make up the 'Lapierre Cycle Classics Series', are organized by Birmingham-based company Cycle Classics, and are modelled on what are arguably the three most exciting and iconic one-day Classics on the professional Calendar: Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of Flanders and the Strade Bianche.

These events are constructed around variations in surface: the inclusion of cobbled/gravel sectors for the Roubaix-inspired Tour of the Black Country, Flanders-like cobbled climbs for the Cheshire Cobbled Classic and white gravel/chalk roads for the Strade Bianche-based White Roads Classic.

Each of these surfaces provides a different riding experience, but common to all is the enhanced sensation of speed and adrenaline that riding on unpaved roads delivers. 

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The Lapierre Classics Series captures the epic quality of these famous European races, and provides a real taste of what riding them is like. The new website is now live and entry for all three events is now open. 

The Cycle Classics Series was held for the first time in 2014 and attracted a considerable amount of interest. The Tour of the Black Country is the only Roubaix-style sportive in the UK that features a velodrome finish, and this proved particularly popular with riders, with every finisher receiving a glass of champagne in the track centre. 

The Cheshire Cobbled Classic features an absolute monster of a climb: the cobbled 45% max. Corkscrew. Although only 200m long, it is so steep that it would be classified as a 2nd category climb. So steep in fact that no one managed to get right to the top on a road bike in 2014 - although former World Champion Andy Tennant was only a few feet short. There will be a generous cash prize for the first rider who makes it up the Corkscrew in 2015. Each finisher also takes home a cobble reclaimed from the roads that make up the route. 

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Martin Astley, Lapierre UK marketing manager commented: 

"We are really excited to be partnering with Cycle Classics. All three events in the series offer something really unique - something special that appeals to riders looking for a different challenge. The events align themselves perfectly with Lapierre bikes, the French theme of the Tour of the Black Country, and of course the abundance of pave, are the perfect conditions for our new Pulsium model. We can't wait to get to the events this year and a few of the team from France are planning to head over and see what the UK has to offer too." 

Cyclosport's Sean Lacey tackled the inaugural Tour of the Black Country last year: 

"For a first attempt it was a very slickly organised ride. Communication was good, with the signing on and getting started procedure hassle free. The route was good, making good use of the lanes and unpaved sectors... The 'Waltonberg' was great, and should rightfully become the signature of the event, but all of the unpaved sectors were good fun. Signage was plentiful, with marshals at the entrance to each off road section to warn you of the surface change, and at the feed areas to point you in the right direction."

"Finishing in the velodrome was another great feature, providing the opportunity for many sprint finishes amongst friends, and an open area to chill out afterwards alongside the coffee van and pancake stand to top up the carbs." 

For more information on all three events in the series and to sign up visit www.cycleclassics.co.uk.





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