The Lapierre Tour of the Black Country

tour-of-the-black-country Sportive

The Lapierre Tour of the Black Country

The Lapierre Tour of the Black Country is a 100-mile (160km) sportive which takes in 30 km of cobbled roads, stony farm tracks and bridleways in the West Midlands and Worcestershire, with a Roubaix-style velodrome finish. Sunday 14 May 2017.

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Modelled on the epic European Classic ‘Paris-Roubaix’

The Lapierre Tour of the Black Country includes 19 unpaved gravel and cobbled sectors, varying in length from 600m to 3900m, 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 route finishes, as does Paris-Roubaix, on a large outdoor velodrome, at Aldersley Stadium on the outskirts of Wolverhampton.

For 2017 we have significantly revised and extended the 2016 route. The full distance is now 100 miles, and we have included four spectacular new off-road sectors: Abberley Hall, Witley Court (both 4 stars), and the epic Glasshampton Monastery and Clent sectors (both 5 stars) – SEE PHOTOS BELOW. We believe that this will make the Tour of the Black Country one of the most unique, challenging and exciting events in Britain.

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 the ground under the very same roads that the route follows. A HIGH5-sponsored feed station, which will also provide real food (including savoury items), a broom wagon, mobile mechanics and medical support vehicles will all be provided.The roads of the Tour of the Black Country are mostly traffic-free, despite being located close to Birmingham, and the majority of the unpaved sectors are closed to all traffic. There will also be an option to ride a 100km (62 mile) version of route, which cuts off the southernmost loop of the 100 mile course.

The Tour of the Black Country will be held on Sunday 14 May 2017, starting and finishing at Aldersley Velodrome, Wolverhampton WV6 9NW. Registration begins at 0730 and riders can start any time they like between 0745 to 0945. 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 17 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.

comp_enterEnter the Lapierre Tour of the Black Country

Unpaved Sectors

19     (km) Enville Common 1400m   * * *
18     (km) The Hyde 1700m  * * * *
17     (km) Churchill 1600m   * * *
16     (km) Broome 1100m     *
15     (km) Abberley Hall (NEW) 1500m  * * * *
FEED    (km) WITLEY COURT
14     (km) Witley Court (NEW) 2200m  * * * *
13     (km) Glasshampton Monastery (NEW) 3900m * * * * *
12     (km) Clent  (20% max.) (NEW) 2500m * * * * *
11     (km) Waltonberg  (22% max.) 600m * * * * *
10     (km) Walton Hill 1300m   * * *
 FEED    (km) THE FRENCH HEN
9     (km) The Field House 600m    * *
8       (km) Roman Road 1200m   * * *
7       (km) Whittington Farm 1800m  * * * *
      (km) Prestwood Drive 1600m  * * * *
5       (km) Gorse Lane East 1300m   * * *
4       (km) Furnace Grange 1100m   * * *
3       (km) Trescott Ford 100m     *
2       (km) Pool Hall 1100m   * * *
1       (km) Aldersley 300m     *
FINISH Velodrome

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tour-of-the-black-country paris-roubaix style sportive

The cobbled road at the base of the Waltonberg climb.

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The cobbles of Sector 12  leading to Walton Hill.

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Irregular and broken cobblestones.

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The new fast and rolling Abberley Hall gravel sector (1500m, four stars) runs past the base of the unusual Abberley Clock Tower, which is visible from several miles away.

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The new 2.2km four-star stony gravel sector through Witley Court.

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The new Feed Station at Witley Court.

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The new, utterly epic 4km-long Glasshampton Monastery gravel sector. Regularly used in the RAC Rally in the 1980s.

The five-star stony gravel road past Glasshampton Monastery. Very secluded and home to beekeeping Franciscan monks.

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The steep Clent climb. An 18% tarmac road gives way to broken concrete (above) and then to a red gravel track which snakes its way up to the 1000ft open summit of Clent. The Abberley Hills (Sector 16) are visible in the distance.

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Roubaix-style dust clouds thrown up on the fast Gorse Lane gravel sector, just 10km from the velodrome.

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Drone view of the velodrome finish of the Tour of the Black Country.

THE LAPIERRE CYCLE CLASSICS SERIES

Cheshire Cobbled Classic – White Roads Classic- Tour of the Black Country (starts at 3:47).

'The best sportive of 2014'.

- Guvnors' Assembly

'As good as you'll get in Britain, I reckon.'

- Will F.

'It’s tough to stand out in the crowded British sportive market but Cycle Classics has hit the nail squarely on the head with its Tour of the Black Country: off-road segments, cobbles, a velodrome finish, even a glass of champagne on completion. The highlight of the day was the glorious sweeps of Aldersley Velodrome for the final lap and a half of the course, just like at Paris-Roubaix. Great atmosphere and sense of being part of a special event.'

- Cycling Weekly

'I only ride a few sportives each year now in this country...The ones I usually do are the Tour of the Black Country and the Tour of Britain.'

- James T.

Lapierre Bikes


Review of 2014 Tour of the Black Country by CYCLOSPORT

Photos: henryiddon.com

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

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