A brand-new challenging cycle event, whose route takes in parts of Moray and Aberdeenshire, will shine a spotlight on the regions as top cycling destinations – and provide a welcome boost to the local economy.
The inaugural Etape Royale is a closed-road event, taking cyclists across Moray and Aberdeenshire’s stunning scenery, through the heart of whisky country and Royal Deeside. There are options to ride a traffic-free 65 or 100-mile route, both of which take in the King of the Mountains climb over the Lecht. The 100-mile charity ride will start at Ballater at 6am on Sunday, September 27, then head north-east via Tarland, Alford and Rhynie to Dufftown, south to Tomintoul and Gairnshiel Lodge before finishing back at Ballater.
To raise awareness of the event, managing director of organisers WildFox Events, David Fox-Pitt, and world record-breaking cyclist and event ambassador Mark Beaumont, cycled the entire 100-mile route on penny farthing bicycles in around 12 hours recently. This also raised money for the Mercy Corps Nepal Earthquake Appeal.
Cyclists from outwith the regions are expected to attend and many, along with their families, will stay in paid-for accommodation in Moray and Aberdeenshire.
Mr Fox-Pitt said: “The route of the Etape Royale has been designed specifically to allow cyclists to take in some of the most breathtaking scenery in Scotland, right through the heart of whisky country. We see the potential to attract thousands of cyclists to the event, which will have a significant economic impact on tourism for the surrounding area.
“This part of Scotland will appeal to any cyclist and the opportunity to participate in a 65 or 100-mile closed-roads challenge in the Cairngorms is one we expect to be very popular. The September date is designed to be towards the end of the cycle sportive season as a finale, giving the less-seasoned cyclist more time to build-up to the magic 100-mile distance.”
Scott Armstrong said: “I am delighted that Moray is staging part of the first-ever Etape Royale. With its incredibly scenic countryside and challenging ascents, this region is the perfect location for a closed-road sportive of this kind and will really put Moray on the cycling map.”
More details about the event and how to register can be found at www.etaperoyale.com