THOUSANDS of cyclists are set to take to the North Wales roads this weekend.
The Wiggle Etape Cymru sportive is returning to Wrexham and Denbighshire this Sunday, September 8.
The cycling event is providing a huge boost for local businesses as thousands of participants and their supporters flock to the region to take part in the event.
Since its inception in 2011, the Wiggle Etape Cymru’s popularity has been ever-increasing; it is known as the UK's toughest closed road cyclosportive and is one of the most popular in the UK.
The route starts and finishes in Wrexham and passes through the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley area with stunning scenery. The route takes in several well-known climbs including the legendary Horseshoe Pass which incorporates a timed King of the Mountains challenge.
This 6.1km climb gains 317m in height and at times the gradient reaches 20 per cent.
A special prize will go to the fastest male and female to climb the Horseshoe Pass.
The event receives support from the Welsh Government, as part of its Major Events Strategy. Last year’s Etape is estimated to have brought £240,000 worth of business and investment to the region and organisers, Human Race, have estimated that this year’s total will reach double that sum.
With the support of local councils the event has been able to firmly establish itself as a key event in the cycling calendar.
It is supported by double Olympic champion and Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas, who said: “Cycling in Wales is experiencing a real boom at the moment, and I’m really proud to be a part of that.
“As well as getting the locals out on their bikes, the event always brings in riders from much further afield too, and it’s brilliant to see the positive impact that has on local businesses.
“I think the views in North Wales are as scenic as any on the continent, and the cycling climbs the area offers are some of the best in the UK, so it’s great that so many more people are getting to appreciate this little corner of the world through the Wiggle Etape Cymru.”
For more information on the Wiggle Etape Cymru, visit www.etape-cymru.co.uk