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Hundreds compete in 'Le Tour de Staveley'
10:27am Wednesday 11th July 2012 in Sport
A SELL-OUT 350 competitors took part in ‘Le Tour de Staveley’ in celebration of the world’s toughest cycle race in France.
Participants took part in either the 48-mile ‘Le Tour’ route or the 28-mile ‘Le Petite Tour’ in the seventh running of the sportive.
Riders streamed through Underbarrow and Brigsteer and down the pan-flat Lyth Valley in glorious afternoon sunshine. On paper the course looks like a straightforward 48-mile pedal but a number of leg-burning climbs like the 20 per cent Tow Top above High Newton tested the riders and caused the field to feel the strain.
It was then on to the climb of Bigland Hill above Backbarrow while the ‘ Le Petite’ short course riders headed straight to the refreshment stop at the Hare and Hounds pub, Bowland Bridge.
The Le Tour long course peloton, lead by professional road racers for Team Wheelbase MGD, headed on to complete a tour of the quiet lanes of Rusland before circling back to Newby Bridge tackle the 'Strada Bianca' gravel climb of Chapel House Wood, above Staveley-in-Cartmel.
The ‘Strada Bianca’ is the name given to the white gravel roads which run in the Tuscan region of Italy and made famous for road cyclists by the Giro d’Italia and L’Eroica road races.
The riders then ambled back through Crosthwaite to finish at Wheelbase in Staveley and ate a two course French themed meal at Wilf's Café.
"Seeing the riders stream down the Lyth Valley in a long line is a wonderful sight and a highlight each year,” said Toby Dalton, director of Wheelbase Lakeland Limited, which organised the event.
“It is a true testament to the increasing popularity of cycling in our area.”
NEWLY-crowned Lakes and Lancs Spoco champion Calum Nicholson made the best of a super fast night by dipping under 22 minutes on the challenging Milnthorpe 10 this week.
The Teamwallis CHH rider stopped the clock at 21.55, more than a minute quicker than second-placed Noel Fox. Improving Paul Singleton took third in the Kent Valley midweek event with 23.53.
A nagging breeze spoiled the prospect of ultra fast times in Barrow Central Wheelers' open 10 on the usually rapid Levens course on Saturday. Steve Irwin of Kingston Wheelers won in 20.26 while locals Dave Baxter (KV), John Ingham (LCC) and Chris Anderson (Biketreks) finished inside 22 minutes.
On Sunday the annual Three Counties Challenge charity sportives took place, organised by Kent Valley club and Kendal Rotary Club.
Nearly 70 riders completed the 60-mile route via Arnside, Barbondale, Dendale, Ingleton, Hornby and Milnthorpe, and the shortest time was Kent Valley's Stewart Mounsey in 3.25.56.
The longer 109-mile route was tackled by 40 riders and Roger Palfreeman got round in 6.12.25.
This year's event was in aid of Bay Search and Rescue and the Rotarians' Young Athletes Fund.
STEVE Clarke from Wheelbase won the Lancaster VeloCity race at Dalton Square while a brilliant performance from Jack Pullar saw him finish second in the ‘B’ race.
Pullar also recently went up against the best of Britain in the National Elite Criterium in Brighouse, West Yorkshire, finishing fourth.