Men's Tour of Sussex: All you need to know
The Men's Tour of Sussex, back for its seventh year, gets under way on July 4 with a race along the Seaford Seafront.
For the first time, the Seafront route will host a race at the Men's Tour of Sussex with 80 riders from 20 different teams battling it out for this year's yellow and blue jerseys.
The new course, making its Tour of Sussex debut as Stage One at 19:30, is a fast, flat and technical race, typically suited to heavier riders with more power. The two technical corners on this course make for an exhilarating spectacle which will provide plenty of thick, rapid action.
It could prove a decisive stage which could very realistically leave the race's climbers in trouble and could allow the power riders to gain critical time.
Stage Two takes place at 09:00 the following morning on one of the toughest courses in the country, Beach Head. This stage is a Team Time Trial and will truly test the riders' physical and mental endurance. Each rider will take in two laps of the stunning Eastbourne course and will have to work incredibly hard to stay with their time.
Whatever the weather, the route will be incredibly challenging as the riders speed through Birling Gap and climb up to Beachy Head for two laps of gruesome cycling.
A Team Time Trial takes immense character and a huge amount of practice, with the potential Yellow Jersey winner requiring his team to take him all the way to a fast time as the team's time goes off the third rider to cross the line.
Stage Three takes place later on the same day, starting at 19:30, and is an individual time trial. All 80 riders will take on Ditchling Beacon, one of the most famous ascents in the UK, and will be racing on a closed road. The leader will have the honour of wearing the Yellow Jersey up the famous climb after starting from the edge of Ditchling Village and finishing at the top of the Beacon.
An interesting sub-plot to this stage is the quest to break the magic four minute barrier for the 'Strava' segment in what will be one of the most fascinating stages for spectators.
The following morning, at 10:00, Stage Four takes place in the regular 'Ladies Mile' at Ashdown Forest. After leaving the picturesque village of Nutley and getting into their rhythm through the Ashdown Forest, the riders will cycle into Groombridge for the first of numerous laps of the gruesome course.
This stage could very possibly see the lead change hands, with some difficult climbs pushing the riders to the max before a cruel climb up to Kings Standing where they will finish.
Stage Five then ends the Tour with the riders setting off at 10:00 on Sunday July 7. Largely considered the toughest stage of them all, Kidds Hill, also referred to as'The Wall', will put the riders through a gruesome test and require the leader to dig extremely deep to maintain his lead.
It begins with a gentle ride out of Nutley but once the riders hit Kings Standing there will be no turning back. A short ride up Jibb Jacks Hill greets them first before a ride out of Hartfield sees the riders speed past the Hatch Inn and hit the dreaded 'Wall of Sussex'.
The four day event promises to be an excellent spectacle as riders battle it out, and while it is extremely unpredictable, the entertainment is guaranteed.
For more information visit www.tourofsussex.comProvisional Start List:
Jam Cycling RT coached by BPC
TBW23 Stuart Hall Gett Taxi
Velo Club Ventra
Holohan Coaching Race Team
N+1 Lindfield Coffee works RT
Rapha Cycling Club
Shutt Ridley RT
The 5th Floor
Vector Cycling Race Team