Etape Loch Ness welcomes back thousands of cyclists to complete 66-mile sportive from Inverness
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Thousands of riders made their way around Loch Ness on Sunday as the Etape Loch Ness finally returned to action after delays due to the pandemic.
It was a record-breaking day for the event, with the fastest men's and women's course times being set for the 66-mile sportive.
More than 2500 people completed the event, which was postponed three times from April 2020 due to the ongoing Covid pandemic.
Malcolm Sutherland, event director of Etape Loch Ness, said: “Congratulations to everyone who took part in the Etape Loch Ness 2021! We have loved seeing people back on this beautiful course around Loch Ness, doing something they love with fellow cycling enthusiasts.
“Not only has it brought people together for the first time in a long time, but it has raised important funds for charities, including over £50,000 so far for our official charity, Macmillan Cancer Support.
“Of course, Etape Loch Ness would not be possible without the support and dedication of our volunteers, partners and sponsors – thank you to each and every one of them.”
Andy Cunningham, from Leeds, broke the male course record, completing the course in 2:42:57. Catriona Lockie, from East Kilbride, broke the female course record, completing it in 2:54:59.
The previous course records were held by Lewis Macfarlane in a time of 2:45:56 and Alison Leitch of Orkney Cycling Club in 2:55:13.
The King of the Mountain section of the course, located 34 miles (55km) into the route as you leave Fort Augustus, consists of a 4.8 mile (9km) climb to Suidhe viewpoint. The fastest male and female for this section are crowned King and Queen of the Mountain. This year, Andy Cunningham and Catriona Lockie took the title with times of 19 mins 36 secs and 24 mins 39 secs respectively, and received a special jersey.
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland director of events, said: “Scotland is the perfect stage for events and the Etape Loch Ness is always a highlight of the year for cyclists and this one was even more special. EventScotland was delighted to have supported this year's event. Well done to everyone involved, especially in ensuring the event was safe, and to all the participating cyclists.”
Zoe MacDonald, challenge events programme manager at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “What a brilliant day and a fantastic return for the Etape Loch Ness! Well done to everyone who took part, especially those who fundraised for Macmillan Cancer Support – you have helped us to raise over £50,000 so far, with more to come in from the event weekend. Thank you!”
Malcolm added: “The good news about this year’s Etape Loch Ness taking place later in the year is that you don’t have long to wait until the 2022 event. The next edition of the event will be on its usual date in April 2022, and you can register your interest for priority entry on the website now.”
Entry for the 2022 Etape Loch Ness, taking place on April 24 – which usually sells out within hours – will open later this year. Those interested in signing up for 2022 can register their interest now at www.etapelochness.com