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Searing Heat And A Scorching Pace Make Fourth Tour Of Cambridgeshire A Red Hot Hit

by Holly Blades

With the East of England Showground bathed in glorious sunshine and temperatures soaring to a high of 28 degrees, an international field of over 5000 riders turned the Fens into the UK's Centre of Cycling at the 4th Tour of Cambridgeshire over the first weekend in June. 

The event, which is run on closed roads and is the sole UK round of the UCI Gran Fondo World Series, saw riders from around the globe swelter in the heat as they battled across age categories from 19 to 70+ to qualify for the World Championships to be held in Varese, Italy in August, by finishing within the top 25% of their group. 

At 10.00 on Saturday 2 June the first rider in a field of 800 rolled off the start ramp in the UCI Tour of Cambridgeshire Chrono, providing not only a spectacular cavalcade of athletes for the thousands that filled the arena and lined the route, but amassing the largest single time-trial event in the world.

Joining the athletes competing for the chance to travel to Varese were 88 four-rider amateur and corporate Chrono teams along with crowd favourites the Classic Chrono, for machines complying with pre-1986 L'Eroica regulations. 

As the temperature steadily rose during the morning on the following day towards the hottest of the year, almost 4000 leisure, challenge and racing category riders took to the glorious roads of the East Anglian Fens to stake their place in the history books as part of the largest global field in the 2018 UCI Gran Fondo series.  Many were riding to secure their chance to represent Great Britain in Varese by finishing in the top 25% of their age group, but, behind the hard-core of determined athletes thousands wheeled through a closed road route of 79 miles in a celebration of all that is best in cycling - camaraderie, freedom and healthy activity. 

Founder and Organiser of the Tour of Cambrideshire Malcolm Smith is in no doubt about what makes the Tour of Cambridgeshire so special:  

"As an organiser myself and racer in both the Chrono and the Road Race it is amazing to be competing on fully closed roads; the experience is heightened by the incredible response we get from the villages and towns we pass through where the streets are lined with people cheering."

In its fourth year, organisers Golazo Cycling continued to innovate and provide a memorable experience for entrants and spectators, with the introduction of the arena based Cambridgeshire Cycle Show in association with Rutland Cycling - hosting stands from top brands such as Specialized, Trek, Cannondale, Oakley, Kask, Cube, Scott and many others as well as the Rutland Cycle Tune-Up Bay, a full massage area and the now legendary Chrono warm up area with 60 free to use TACX turbo trainers.

"We feel that the Tour of Cambridgeshire has established a unique and credible identity for its production values, management and drive towards continuous improvement in relation to the safety, fairness and rider experience in both the Chrono and the Gran Fondo", commented Smith, "we live and breathe the need to keep on moving forward and take the need to stay on this curve very seriously indeed.  In 2019, for example, we will be running the Road Race over 100 miles for riders up to the age of 60, of which the final 40 miles or so will be in challenging rolling countryside which will see a lot of race action at the sharp end of affairs." 

Entries for both the 2019 Tour of Cambridgeshire UCI Road Race and Chrono opened this week with entries for the new format 100/75/55 mile Gran Fondo opening 11 June. 

Also new for 2019 is a challenging 100 mile non-competitive Sportive that promises to bring riders the opportunity to ride on closed roads at speed and experience the true professional feeling of the big peloton.  Entries of the ToC 100 mile Sportive open 18 June.

Visit Tour of Cambridgeshire for more information.

Images: TOC/Sportograf

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