The Wilier Cheshire Cobbled Classic
The Wilier Cheshire Cobbled Classic is an extremely tough sportive featuring twelve cobbled sectors, including five cobbled climbs that exceed 20% in gradient. Newly revised 120km (75-mile) route for 2018.
Sunday 16 September 2018.
Inspired by the Tour of Flanders
The Wilier Cheshire Cobbled Classic is inspired by the Tour of Flanders – the Belgian one-day Classic. It features twelve cobbled sectors, including five cobbled climbs that exceed 20% in gradient. The most notable of these is the frighteningly-steep Corkscrew, a twisting, snaking cobbled road whose 45% maximum gradient makes it the steepest climb in the country. Much of the course is located within the Peak District National Park, starting in the beautiful Lyme Park (National Trust). The route contains over 2000m of climbing, and the event builds to a climax with a rapid succession of cobbled climbs, including the iconic Swiss Hill, a 25% cobbled climb used by Team Sky to prepare specifically for the Tour of Flanders. The profile of Swiss Hill can be viewed here.
The event was ranked as the second hardest event in the UK by Cycling Weekly in 2015 – second only in difficulty to the Fred Whitton Challenge – despite being only half the distance, and with half the amount of climbing!
Entries are priced at £29.
World Team Pursuit Champion Andy Tennant (above) struggles on the absurdly steep Corkscrew in the 2014 Cheshire Cobbled Classic. His team-mate Owain Doull (Olympic Gold Medallist in Rio) keeled over on the lower slopes.
There is an 8-page ‘UK Ride’ feature on the Cheshire Cobbled Classic in the November 2016 issue of Cyclist Magazine (click on image below).
Four-page Insider’s Guide to the Cheshire Cobbled Classic in this 2015 issue of Cycling Weekly (click on image below).
The eastern half of the Cheshire Cobbled Classic is located within the Peak District National Park, starting in beautiful Lyme Park (National Trust), and takes in the spectacular Goyt Valley and the Fernilee and Errwood reservoirs, before heading west towards Alderley Edge and the cobbled climbs of Woodbrook Rd and Swiss Hill.
There are also long flat cobbled sectors (something of a rarity in England), one of which, even more unusually, is surfaced with round cobbles rather than the more common square cobblestones or ‘setts’ (see below).
The event will have a Belgian theme, with Belgian waffles, chocolate and a glass of Belgian ‘Leffe’ for every finisher. In addition, everyone who completes the course will be presented with a full-sized commemorative cobblestone, reclaimed from the very same roads that the event passes over.! Feed stations, a broom wagon and medical support will be provided. All of the roads that comprise both routes are relatively traffic-free, with minimal use of ‘A’ roads.
The course designer explains some of the thinking behind the Cheshire Cobbled Classic: “We’d been out to Belgium to do the Tour of Flanders sportive in 2012, and we wanted to try to recreate that sort of course back home in England, with a mixture of short, steep cobbled climbs and flat cobbled sectors. We already knew about Swiss Hill, and had spotted a few cobbled roads in the vicinity.
We quickly found eight or ten other cobbled sectors, and when we discovered to 45% max. ‘Corkscrew’, we knew that we had a really interesting and challenging route on our hands. One great advantage of sportives over races is that you are not as restricted in your choice of roads as you would be in designing a road race course. So you can put together really exciting and novel routes that take in a wide variety of surfaces and terrain that would be logistically very difficult to include in a standard British road race. Ironically, professional road racers now come and ride our events – including Olympic athletes and World Champions.
We also wanted to show that the roads in this part of England are as exciting – and demanding – as any in Europe, and to give people the chance to experience what it is like to ride in some of the famous one-day Classics. Riding fast over cobbles is a sensation that every cyclist should experience at some point; the heightened sensation of speed that the rough, juddering surface produces makes for a thrilling, adrenaline-filled ride”.
Cobbled and Gravel Sectors
|Sector 10 (13km)||Start Lane||300m||30% max.||Cobbles|
|Sector 9 (19km)||Fernilee Reservoir||1800m||Flat||Hard-packed stones|
|Sector 8 (25km)||The Corkscrew||200m||45% max.||Cobbles|
|Sector 7 (26km)||Bank Clough Farm||600m||– 5%||Gravel (descent)|
|FEED 1 (31km)||Robin Hood Inn, Rainow. SK10 5XE|
|Sector 6 (65km)||Horseshoe Lane||200m||Flat||Cobbles|
|Sector 5 (66km)||Woodbrook Road||300m||20% max.||Cobbles|
|Sector 4 (68km)||Swiss Hill||600m||25% max.||Cobbles|
|FEED 2 (97km)||Robin Hood Inn, Rainow|
|Sector 3 (98km)||Jumper Lane||2000m||25% max.||Broken tarmac/gravel|
|Sector 2 (108km)||Beeston Brow||300m||20% max.||Cobbles (irregular)|
|Sector 1 (117km)||Lyme Park||1800m||10% max.||Gravel|
In addition to the short, steep cobbled climbs, there are three major tarmac road climbs on the route. The first two of these climbs (Pym Chair and Ewrin Rd) average over 10% for long stretches. Note that these two climbs occur in the first 30km of the route; thereafter, the course descends onto the Cheshire Plain, with the only other long climbs being the ascents of Kerridge.
- Pym Chair. Fernilee Reservoir – Pym Chair (250m-470m) +220m elevation gain. 2.5km long. (21 km)
- Ewrin Road (280m-400m) +120m. 3.8km long. (29 km)
- Kerridge. Bollington (180m-250m) +70m. 2.0km long. (First passage at 34 km). Done twice in both directions.
The Wilier Cheshire Cobbled Classic will be held on Sunday 16 September 2018, starting and finishing at Lyme Park, Disley, Stockport, Cheshire SK12 2NR. Entries are priced at £29. You can sign up using British Cycling’s online entry system – click on the red ‘ENTER’ button at the bottom of this page. The event is promoted by Cycle Classics, who organize the Tour of the Black Country, a Paris-Roubaix-inspired sportive featuring 19 unpaved/cobbled sectors and a velodrome finish, and the Strade-Bianche-themed The White Roads Classic which features 17 white gravel/chalk sectors.
Discussion of the Wilier Cheshire Cobbled Classic in Cyclist Magazine (May 2016 issue) below.
- Cycling Weekly
- Louise M.
- Cycling Plus, June 2015
THE Wilier CLASSICS SERIES
Cheshire Cobbled Classic – White Roads Classic- Tour of the Black Country
Cycling Weekly Review:
Cheshire Cobbled Classic