Road Cycling Events

2013 Etape Series a resounding success, but female entrants still in huge minority

The 2013 Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Series rounded off a successful 2013 with a dramatic end of season finale at the ‘beautiful but brutal’ Etape Pennines, a sportive that Total Women’s Cycling editor successfully took part in. 

The Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape series includes three closed road sportives.

Over 500,000 miles in total were conquered at the three sportives as the Etape Series visited some of the greatest cycling locations in the UK. The traffic free closed roads and stunning picturesque routes provided many unforgettable cycling experiences for over 7,000 riders that participated. Kirsty can vouch for this, as she shared her experience of the Etape Pennines she completed earlier this month.

Event ambassador and decorated Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey took a break from training to look back at 2013 series,

The buzz around cycling since London 2012 has been incredible and I have been so fortunate to be involved with many great cycling projects and events. One of these was the 2013 Etape Series which had a new event for this year in my home county of Cheshire.

The year began with the 7th edition of the established Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Caledonia in Highland Perthshire, as over 5,250 participants tackled 81 miles of picturesque Scottish Landscape. There was a real buzz around the event as the UK’s first ever closed road sportive attracted thousands of roadside spectators to cheer on the UK’s most dedicated cyclists.

The truly beautiful Pennines were the backdrop to the third and final Etape Series sportive

Next up was debut event, Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Mercia, an entry level sportive set in the northwest of England, a region considered by many to be the home of UK cycling. Over 1,200 riders of all abilities conquered the 69 miles of closed roads in the beautiful West Cheshire countryside, home of series ambassador and decorated Paralympian, Dame Sarah Storey.

Described as ‘beautiful and brutal’ by Cycling Weekly magazine, Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines provided the ultimate finale to the Etape series as over 1,400 riders took to County Durham for one of the toughest sportives on the event calendar. The route included over 2,500 meters (debated by Kirsty, her Garmin said over 3,100 meters!) of uphill climbing and several exhilarating downhill sections, giving participants one of the most demanding, yet rewarding, experiences in cycling.

However, although the Etape Series was a resounding success in terms of entrants, we wanted to take a look at just how many women took part. The organisers were kind enough to send across the statistics, and this is what we found:

Etape Caledonia entrants, break down

  • Male: 85%
  • Female: 15%

Etape Mercia entrants, break down

  • Male: 81%
  • Female: 19%

Etape Pennines entrants, break down

  • Male: 93%
  • Female: 7%

We would love to see more women taking part in sportives; they’re fantastically well organised events, with support crews, mechanics, options to rent bikes if you don’t have your own and all important feed stations dotted around the course!

We promise that once you take the plunge and complete one sportive it will leave you wanting to do more, and before you know it – you’ll be hooked.

In fact, events such as the Etape Series are great, because the sportives take place on closed roads, so you don’t have to even worry about mixing with traffic – you can just concentrate on the road ahead.

Our editor Kirsty has already committed to cycling all three of the Etape Series sportives next year, who’s up for joining her?

To keep up with all the latest news from the Etape series, visit their Twitter feed and their Facebook page


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