The Tour of Ayrshire is round nine in the UCI’s Gran Fondo World Series and takes place over the 29th and 30th April, in Kilmarnock. With twenty events in seventeen different countries, the UCIGFWS is open to amateur and masters riders, with a chance to compete in the finals and walk away with a UCI world champion’s jersey. Not your everyday sportive or road race.
Each event in the series is composed of a Chrono (time trial) and a Gran Fondo – think road race with a sportive running behind. On top of this the Tour of Ayrshire have added a Team Chrono to the mix. Although not a qualifier for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships, the Team Chrono looks like it will be a popular addition to the weekend. Teams of four can ride in four different classifications; Male, Female, Mixed and Corporate. All riders will be restricted to standard road bikes and pre-registration opens on Monday February 6th.
The Chrono riders will compete on a twenty kilometre circuit, over fully closed roads, with separate age/gender categories. There will be a large warm up area, with sixty turbos available for you to get those legs up to speed. You’ll get to roll down off the Tour of Ayrshire’s official start ramp, no standing in the rain by the side of a busy A road! If you finish in the top 25% of your age/gender category, then you will receive an invitation to the Chrono at the 2017 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships. For 2017 the World championships are being held in Albi, France.
There are 500 places available for the Chrono and pre-registration opens today, Monday 9th January. I would suggest getting your name in as quickly as possible, the 800 places at the Tour of Ayrshire’s sister event – the Tour of Cambridgeshire – sold out in days. Tom Caldwell, CEO of the event organisers Golazo Cycling said; ‘This is a new event on the Scottish calendar but is open to riders from all over. The ToA Chrono is a UCI Gran Fondo World Championship qualifying event and is expected to draw competitors in from around the world. The same event at the Tour of Cambridgeshire attracts over 800 riders, at least 20% from overseas and sells out in a few hours. Given the appetite for time trailing in Scotland, we have high hopes that this will be a popular event.’
I’ve ridden the Tour of Cambridgeshire twice now and have been impressed with the organisation and loved racing on closed roads, with cheering crowds. It’s so unlike any sportive or road race I’ve ridden in the UK. The sheer scale is amazing from when you first arrive, there are riders everywhere and plenty of trade stands to keep you distracted. Riders vary from keen sportive riders, to grizzled vets looking to qualify for the worlds. I’ll be in that last category, and have already booked my trip to Albi, so no pressure!