Wednesday, February 8th, 2017
Entries are pouring in for Ireland’s toughest one day bike ride, the Wicklow 200 on June 11th, when 3000 cyclists will take to the epic hills of the Garden County.
Riders from all over the world will descend on County Wicklow for the 35thedition of Ireland’s longest running mass participation bike ride, attracted to the unique challenge of the epic beauty through Ireland’s Ancient East.
Firmly established as one of the most important annual goals for well trained road cyclists, the Wicklow 200, as the name suggests, covers over 200 kilometres around the roads of County Wicklow, taking in most of the famous hills that have made Wicklow a major international cycling destination over the years.
For riders of developing ability, the shorter Wicklow Challenge (100km) takes place on the same day, and shares much of its route with the Wicklow 200.
“We’ve been thrilled with the response from the Irish cycling community since the entry opened,” said event director Alan Heary. “The combination of amazing scenery, tough cycling roads and the unequalled heritage of this event continue to make it a ‘must do’ for Irish and, increasingly, international bike riders.
“By capping the entry at 3000, we can offer an unrivalled cycling experience and, with the support of all the stakeholders in Wicklow, we’re looking forward to the best ever edition of the event in 2017.”
The Wicklow 200 is the longest running and, for many, one of the toughest ‘sportive’ bike events in Ireland with climbs set to challenge even the strongest rider. Participants are also racing the clock with a maximum time to complete the distance of 13 hours.
The cyclists will face just under 3000 metres of climbing on the 200km route which takes in many of the hills that have contributed to the rich heritage of Irish cycling.
From Kilmacanogue, the riders head up the Long Hill to Roundwood, Laragh, the Wicklow Gap, Hollywood, Baltinglass, Aghavannagh, Slieve Mann, Drumgoff, past the monument to Ireland’s first Tour de France yellow jersey holder Shay Elliott at Glenmalure and on across the mystical Vale of Clara to Rathdrum.
Legs will already be feeling the pinch as the riders head south to the beautiful ‘Meeting of the Waters’ near Avoca where a left turn through the village takes you past Fitzgerald’s, the now famous ‘Ballykissangel pub’, and on to Redcross, Ballinderrig, then Kilmacurra, Ashford and the final push to the finish line back at Greystones.
The Wicklow 100 will veer left in Laragh and straight to Rathdrum for the checkpoint there and return on the same route as the Wicklow 200.
Along the way there will be water, food and repair stops at Baltinglass and Rathdrum. There will also be roving repair vehicles that travel the route and assist in the event of mechanical problems for the riders.