With only 2,500 places allocated in a lottery, the iconic Saddleback Fred Whitton Challenge is the most highly coveted amateur cycling event in the UK.

Famed for its difficulty, this 112mile sportive (with 3950m of climbing), is hugely oversubscribed every year.

It takes place on Sunday, May 13 from Grasmere. Taking in all of the major Lakeland passes; Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Hardknott and Wrynose, the route includes a 30 per cent gradient at 98 miles.

Top riders complete the route in just under six hours, but eleven hours and over is not uncommon for the average sportive rider.

Hopeful riders try their luck through the ballot entry system, which opens on January 3 2018.

There is only one way to 100% guarantee your place ahead of the ballot. It is possible to secure a place from now until January 2 by signing up to ride for the charity partners of The Fred; The Duddon and Furness Mountain Rescue Team, The North West Air Ambulance and The Great North Air Ambulance.

Purchase a charity entry for £60 plus a donation of £250* to fix your place in this bucket-list ride, while supporting fantastic national and local causes.

Additionally, all riders are encouraged to fundraise for Macmillan Cancer Care. The Fred Whitton Challenge has now raised £1,138,000 for Macmillan and local charities.

Paul Loftus, chairman of the Fred Whitton Challenge steering group, said: “This event was first established to encourage people to appreciate the challenge of cycling in The Lakes, and to raise money for worthy causes. People love this event, which makes this charity entry window a really exciting opportunity for people to get involved and fundraising.”

Nick Rusling, CEO of Human Race, said: “This is the most loved, and most gruelling event that we have the privilege of delivering. The hard work that the riders put in make it a real challenge, worthy of serious sponsorship.”

The event is in honour of Fred Whitton. Fred, who died aged just 50 in 1998, was an extremely popular member of the Lakes Road Club and a lynchpin in the cycling community of Cumbria.

Visit www.fredwhittonchallenge.co.uk/2018-entry/