Undulating closed roads, crowds lining the pavement and glorious countryside for miles around. What more could you want from a weekend of road cycling?
The two day Tour of Ayrshire road cycling festival is the latest UCI Gran Fondo World Series event in the UK, and it's taking place in Kilmarnock, Scotland next month. On Saturday April 29th, the ToA will kick off with the Chrono event in the format of a Grant Tour: 20km of testing tarmac which heads out of Kilmarnock’s beautiful Kay Park into the local countryside before returning to the finish at St Joseph’s Academy in Kilmarnock.
The top 25% of all starters in the ToA Chrono, by age / gender classification will receive an invitation to compete in the Time Trial at the 2017 UCI Gran Fondo World championships, which are being held in Albi, France, in August this year.
There are 500 places available in the ToA Chrono and the start, which will start at the very reasonable time of 10.00am, will be organised according to UCI Masters age / gender classifications.
The afternoon will see the ToA Team Chrono for teams of 4 riders competing on road bikes in four different classifications – Male, Female, Mixed and Corporate. The Team Chrono is not a qualifier for the UCI world championships.
The Tour of Ayrshire Gran Fondo and Medio Fondo are taking place on Sunday 30th April. The Gran Fondo is a UCI Gran Fondo World Series event and like the Chrono the top 25% of all starters in the Gran Fondo will be invited by the UCI to participate in the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships later this year.
‘A Gran Fondo is different to a sportive’, says Tom Caldwell,event organiser CEO "The Gran Fondo format is like a big city marathon with faster elite riders towards the front, these guys are in a full-on race, and then club, sportive and charity riders towards the back. A Gran Fondo is wholly inclusive.’
The start structure of the Gran Fondo comprise two gates, a Race Gate and a Sport Gate. The Race Gate is sub-divided into age / gender pens based upon the UCI Masters Age Classification. The Sport Gate is sub-dived into estimated speed classifications which are self-selected by the entrants.
The Medio Fondo is a shorter event aimed at riders whose appetite is conditioned by their aspiration to enjoy the opportunity to be involved in a major event on closed roads.
Finally, the most recent addition to the line-up of separate events within the festival; is a ride for heritage pre-1987 bikes. This is called the Tour Classic and is run over the Medio Fondo route.
With so many rides packed into the two day event, there will be plenty of cycle action to enjoy and take part in. For more information about the Tour of Ayrshire, head over to the event website here.