New closed-road cycle race coming to Sussex

A brand new closed road cycle race is coming to West Sussex, a Rugby World Cup winner announced today.

The event is open to riders of all abilities
The event is open to riders of all abilities

The inaugural Vélo South – a 100 mile closed road race – was officially launched at the London Bike Show today by Martin Johnson CBE and British cycling icon Mandy Jones.

Due to take place Sunday, September 23, Vélo South will take 15,000 riders of all ability levels on a truly unforgettable journey through the stunning West Sussex countryside, starting and finishing on the iconic Goodwood motor circuit and featuring the magnificent rolling hills of the South Downs National Park.

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The route spans much of the South Downs, with many roads closed to traffic on the day.

A map of the expected route with hints at the road closures

With around 1,700m of climbing, the Vélo South route is a relatively challenging one, but the beauty of the route, support from the locals and camaraderie with fellow riders will make for a truly unforgettable day of closed road riding.

Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “We are delighted to be hosting Vélo South in our wonderful county. West Sussex is a place of culture, heritage and beautiful countryside – the perfect setting to enjoy a day of closed road riding.

“We’re looking forward to working with CSM Active to make the event a success and to introducing participants to the delights of our county.”

With thousands of participants expected to travel from across the UK to experience Vélo South, the event aims to help raise the profile of West Sussex towns, villages and countryside as a great place to visit and provide a boost for tourism.

The start and finish venue, the iconic Goodwood Motor Racing circuit, is steeped in motor racing history. But it also has credentials of the cycling kind, playing host to the 1982 World Road Race Championships; the last time the road world championships were held in Britain.

Organised by CSM Active, Vélo South is the latest event in the Vélo Series, following the hugely successful inaugural Vélo Birmingham in September 2017.

Aside from Ride London, Vélo South is the only other opportunity to ride 100 miles on closed roads in the UK in 2018. With over 25,000 pre-registrations received to date, Vélo South is expected to sell-out fast when entries open on Thursday March 1. To be in with a chance of taking part prospective participants must pre-register.

Prospective participants will also have the option of entering through one of Vélo South’s lead charity partners – Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK and the British Heart Foundation.

There will also be a Vélo South Business 100 entry option which provides companies with the opportunity to enjoy a VIP participation experience coupled with exclusive training events and networking opportunities.

Vélo Series ambassador Martin Johnson CBE, said: “As a cycling fanatic, it’s hugely exciting to yet another 100-mile closed road sportive come to the UK. H

aving ridden the inaugural Vélo Birmingham, I know first-hand how exhilarating it is to ride on closed roads and I can’t wait to be one of 15,000 riders lined up on Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit on September 23.

“My advice to anyone who is tempted to enter but is doubting their ability to complete 100 miles would be to just take the plunge and go for it!

“I speak from experience when I say that with the right training it’s an extremely achievable goal. Completing a century ride is a huge accomplishment and the feeling when you cross the finish line will be worth all the hard work.”

Horsham District Council cabinet member for the local economy Gordon Lindsay, said: “We are delighted that this major cycling event is going to be coming through so many areas of Horsham District. It will provide an excellent opportunity to showcase our unique district at its best - an exhilarating ride for the competitors and a real spectacle for local residents and visitors to enjoy.

“The ride will also provide opportunities for local businesses and will be a boost for local tourism as food and drink providers and accommodation providers will all be able to benefit.”

Councillor Eileen Lintill, cabinet member for communities at Chichester District Council, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming this exciting event to our district.

“The event promises to be one of the UK’s biggest cycling events and is an excellent opportunity to showcase our stunning area, encourage cycling, bring communities together and embrace a new and exciting event.

“With potentially 15,000 participants taking part in the event, we also hope that it will bring significant economic benefits to the businesses within our district.”

Alister Linton-Crook, cycling officer for the South Downs National Park, said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming the Vélo South visitors to the South Downs.

“They’re going to have an amazing and unique experience enjoying the National Park’s special landscapes traffic-free and having 15,000 people coming to stay is a great opportunity for local businesses. We hope that the event will be a real celebration.”

Jon Ridgeon, executive chairman of organisers CSM Active, said: “Combining the magic of Goodwood with a stunning 100-mile closed road route through the West Sussex countryside, Vélo South promises to deliver a truly unforgettable day of riding for 15,000 riders.

“Vélo South wouldn’t be possible without the support of our fantastic stakeholders and we are extremely thankful to them for helping make this fantastic event a reality.”

For more information, visit the event website.