Entries open for Etape Caledonia’s Little Sister: The Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Mercia

Following high anticipation from prospective participants, entries opened today (29th January) for the sister event to the highly successful Etape Caledonia, the new Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Mercia which will take place on 18th August 2013 in Cheshire.

Organisers IMG also revealed the full beautiful and inspiring entry level route, which winds through the West Cheshire countryside taking in highlights such as Beeston Castle, Delamere Forest and Little Switzerland.

Two weeks ago, Dame Sarah Storey launched the new closed road sportive and since then excited riders have been able to register their interest in the new 69 mile event. The event website www.etapemercia.co.uk has seen high levels of traffic so places are expected to be snapped up quickly. Pitlochry based Etape Caledonia cold out in just 72 hours when it went on sale in 2012.

Participants can now enter the event at www.etapemercia.co.uk. In addition to general entries, 400 free charity pledge places will be available to those willing to raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care. With strong links to charity partners, the Etape Series has also been instrumental in encouraging participants to raise well in excess of £1.5million over its seven year history for its title charity partners.

The Etape Mercia route starts and finishes with a lap of the famous Oulton Park racing circuit, which is home to the British Superbikes Series. The route loops around the stunning Beeston Castle – a Medieval Castle on a rocky outcrop from the time of the English Civil War- before winding north through the countryside. From this point, riders then hit their first hill before passing through the amazing Delamere Forest giving some incredible views on the way. The route then winds its way back to Oulton Park for a final victory lap before finishing on the circuit’s finish line and your well deserved medal.

Full details of the route can be found here: http://etapemercia.co.uk/coursemaps.html

Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Series ambassador Dame Sarah Storey said: “I’m so excited to see the interest building for this fantastic cycling event in my local area. I was up on the route recently and it really is spectacular.

“It is a mass participation event, it’s non-competitive, and people will have their own little personal goals that they will want to achieve and that’s perfect and it is what sport is about. It is about doing the best you can and enjoying yourself in the process.”

The Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Mercia has set the standard for sportives in the UK. All of the events, which include Etape Caledonia and Etape Pennines, enjoy closed roads, excellent support and awe inspiring routes. The organisers are challenging riders to try and claim a hat trick by riding all three events in the series, Etape Mercia for entry level, Etape Caledonia for seasoned riders and the toughest sportive in the UK, Etape Pennines.

Marie Curie Cancer Care, the event’s charity partner, is encouraging all participants to raise funds for the charity. Marie Curie provides free hands-on nursing care to people with a terminal illness, enabling them to spend their final weeks, days or hours at home, in familiar surroundings with the people and things they love close by.

Top tips and updates can also be followed on Facebook at EtapeSeries or on Twitter, using @etapeseries and the hashtag #Bethefirst.