The Lapierre Tour of the Black Country
The Lapierre Tour of the Black Country is a 100km sportive which takes in 20 km of cobbled roads, stony farm tracks and bridleways in the West Midlands and Worcestershire, with a Roubaix-style velodrome finish. Sunday 10 May 2015.
Modelled on the epic European Classic ‘Paris-Roubaix’
The Lapierre Tour of the Black Country includes 15 unpaved sectors varying in length from 300m to 1800m, all of which are passable on a standard road bike. Each sector is rated according to difficulty; one star being the most straightforward, five stars being the most difficult. The roads are virtually traffic-free, despite being located close to Birmingham, and the majority of the unpaved sectors are closed to all traffic. The route finishes, as does Paris-Roubaix, on a large outdoor velodrome, at Aldersley Stadium on the outskirts of Wolverhampton.
The event will have a French theme, with a variety of French foods (croissants, pains aux raisins, crepes, etc.), coffee and a glass of Champagne for every finisher. In addition, everyone who completes the course will be presented with a lump of top-quality Black Country coal, mined from under the very same roads that the route follows. Feed stations, a broom wagon and medical support will be provided. There is also the option of a shorter 65 km (40-mile) route, which skips five of the fifteen unpaved sectors, but is otherwise the same as the full 100 km route.
The Tour of the Black Country will be held on Sunday 10 May 2015, starting and finishing at Aldersley Velodrome, Wolverhampton WV6 9NW. You can sign up using British Cycling’s online entry system – click on the red ‘ENTER’ button below. The event is promoted by Cycle Classics, who also organize the Cheshire Cobbled Classic, which includes several steep cobbled climbs, including the infamous 45% Corkscrew, and the Strade-Bianche-themed White Roads Classic which features 9 white gravel/chalk sectors.
The event is being supported by British Cycling; read the article on their website describing how the sportive came into being, and the ideas and values behind it.
The Tour of the Black Country also features prominently in a new book by amateur cyclist Iain MacGregor, ‘To Hell on a Bike’ (published 12 March 2015), in which prepares for the ride of his life as he attempts to ride the whole route of Paris-Roubaix, a race which has obsessed him since childhood. He explores the history and culture of this extraordinary race, with insights from legends of the sport, trainers, mechanics and fellow writers, as well as those who have maintained the traditions of Paris-Roubaix since its inception over a century ago. It is the ultimate story of the ultimate cycling challenge. There is a whole chapter on the Tour of the Black Country – the sister event of the White Roads Classic – which he rode as preparation for Paris-Roubaix, and the book also discusses the origins of the White Roads Classic. This book will be of interest to anyone who has ridden, or is planning to ride the White Roads Classic, the Tour of the Black Country – or Roubaix itself!
Available now in bookshops and from amazon:
- Guvnors' Assembly
- Will F.
- Cycling Weekly
- James T.