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Wight Riviera Sportive - Closed Road Riding Returns to the Isle of Wight

by Adam Tranter

Ride England's first closed-road sportive! Full 100 mile route, with 2,300 metres of climbing and amazing scenery! 25km closed-road start loop features in a unique and innovative sportive format. Superb atmosphere - ride out through crowds of cheering spectators! Make a weekend of it! There is loads to see and do on the Island; the perfect event to bring family or friends!

white riviera

Closed Road sportive riding returns to the South of England this spring, as Southern Sportive's exciting Isle of Wight event, the Wight Riviera Sportive on May 19th comes back for it's second year.

The Wight Riviera Sportive covers the best of the Islands quiet roads and spectacular views, with options from 62km up to a full 163km (100 miles), and over 2300m of climbing across the Islands steep downland profile. The sportive is the headline event of a weekend long festival of cycling on the 18th & 19th May, with rides for road and mountain bikers, and family and leisure cyclists too.

The Wight Riviera Sportive attracted big crowds in it's first year, and has increased capacity to 1500 riders for 2013. A big part of it's appeal was undoubtedly being the first English sportive to feature a major road closure. This was achieved using the innovative new Sportive Avantage format devised by the Southern Sportive team, that combines a classic sportive route with a closed road lead out; a new concept that provides the perfect challenge for the widest possible range of cyclists.

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Thumbs Up

From the start, you ride out behind the escort onto a closed-road starting loop of approx. 25km (called the Avant loop). Ride past the Needles and onto the southern coast road at Freshwater Bay; over the climb of Compton Down, with panoramic sea views across the cliffs to your right, before passing back across the spine of the Island to the start area. The 25km route ends here, while the longer route riders head out and onto the open road part of the sportive. So the Avant Loop offers a fantastic standalone challenge, ideal for novice or family riders wanting a shorter, completely traffic free ride. For riders on the longer loops, it gives a fantastic springboard into the day; 25km of car-free roads to get the legs turning! The rolling road closure also allows the sportive to feature a proper mass start, giving it a real sense an atmosphere and occasion for both for riders and spectators. In 2012, hundreds of locals lined the first few miles of the ride to cheer on the pack, bringing a rare continental atmosphere to the event, worthy of the Riviera name.

Once out on the open road sections of the sportive, the course moves onto the tranquil roads of the wider Island; very few roads on the Isle of Wight could ever be described as 'busy' and, as it winds up and down the Island's chains of hills, the constantly changing scenery is quite breathtaking. Low, leafy valleys sweep through classic English villages, along airy country lanes between the hedgerows and onto the high vantage points up on the downs, with sweeping sea views across the Island and beyond!

If that all sounds like a nice ride for day trippers, be assured, the Wight Riviera course is properly challenging too. The hill profile on the Island rivals the South Downs for scale and gradients, and feels quite similar in character although, if anything, with even better scenery. The Wight Riviera uses these hills to great effect; cleverly weaving it's 100 mile course through the intricate network of lanes to deliver all the highs and lows (physically and metaphorically) that you could want from the consummate ride!

white riviera
Great Roads and Great Weather

Fun and family friendly rides form a big part of the whole weekend too, and the Island is rich with attractions, making it an ideal weekend for cyclists with either non cycling or casual cycling families or partners. Getting to the Island is cheap and easy too. There are three main crossings on the south coast, and Island ferry company, Red Funnel and have got behind the event with big travel discounts that can get you to the Island from under £10.00 per person return for vehicle crossings. The event centre is just 200 yards from the nearest ferry, making it ideal for a day crossing, or the event is perfect for a longer weekend break, with an great choice of accommodation and activities available on the island.

Get full details for the Wight Riviera Sportive and book now at southernsportive.com.

You can also find more details of the full weekend details at wightriviera.co.uk.





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