A record number of riders took part in Etape Loch Ness today.
In total, 6,100 cyclists signed up for the 66-mile closed-road sportive around Loch Ness – with general entry selling out in just 36 hours.
More than a thousand of those entrants were riding for charity partner Macmillan Cancer Support, raising more than £220,000 – adding to the £1.4million raised since 2014.
Spectators turned out in force to cheer on the participants who came from across Scotland, the UK and even as far afield as Australia and Chile.
Finishing fastest were two men from Moray Firth Cycling Club
The Etape Loch Ness is the largest closed road cycle sportive in Scotland.
Finishing fastest this year were Scott Davidson and Andrew MacRae, from Moray Firth Cycling Club, in an equal time of 2:46:04.
In the women’s race, Catriona Lockie, from Torvelo Racing, took the title in a time of 2:58:12, follwed by Lynne Cordiner of Moray Firth Cycling Club in second and Natalie Munro of Moray Gravel Collective in a time of 03:03:54.
For the first time in the history of the Etape Loch Ness, there were both joint first and joint third place finishers for the males, split by just one second.
Richie Sim and Darren Dean were joint third finishers, in a time of 2:46:05.
The King of the Mountain
The Etape Loch Ness course includes the King of the Mountain, which is located after Fort Augustus, 34 miles into the route, and consists of a 4.8 mile climb to the top of the Glendoe summit.
The fastest male and female for this section are crowned King and Queen of the Mountain.
This year, Andy Cunningham and Emily Palmer took the titles with times of 19:35 and 26:02 respectively, and each received a special jersey.
‘It did not disappoint’
Malcolm Sutherland, event director of Etape Loch Ness, said: “Congratulations to everyone who took on the Etape Loch Ness today.
“Riders came from across Scotland, the UK and as far afield as Australia, Chile and the United Arab Emirates to experience the event and some Highland hospitality – and it did not disappoint.
“The event also raises crucial funds for charity including our charity partner Macmillan Cancer Support. Well done to you all.”
Next year’s event is now open
He added: ““For those who want to do it all over again, you can register your interest to be the first to hear when entry opens for next year’s event.
“We look forward to seeing you there.”
Bethany Adams, senior challenge cvents programme manager at Macmillan Cancer Support, added: “We are so grateful to all the Etape Loch Ness riders who have raised £220,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support, with more to come in from the weekend.
“Your generosity is so important and allows us to continue supporting those impacted by cancer.
Entry for the 2023 Etape Loch Ness, taking place on April 23, will open later this year.
Entry traditionally sells out within hours so those interested in signing up for 2023 can register their interest now at www.etapelochness.com