Chester cyclists can sign up to ride through the city with 25 time Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish this summer.

The cycling legend has launched his official Rise Above Sportive, taking place for the first time this August after the Tour de France.

The former World and British Champion will join thousands of amateur cyclists in Chester on Sunday, August 9 in taking on one of three challenging routes, starting and finishing on the cobbles in the heart of the city.

Mr Cavendish said: “I’m very excited to launch the inaugural Rise Above Sportive. We first discussed the idea 18 months ago and have been going through the planning process ever since. I’ve pushed everyone involved to deliver an event that will provide the participants with a real premium rider experience.

“Our plan is to eventually have a fully closed road event so it was key for me to have some closed road sections in the inaugural one.

“I’m super happy that the Cheshire West and Chester Council have kindly agreed to close some cobbled streets in and out of the city centre. The parcour we’ve chosen for all three routes will be really special and testing for any level of rider.

“Longer term, I have a vision to grow the Rise Above Sportive to a two-day cycling festival in the years to come. I hope to see you there after the Tour de France.”

Mark Cavendish looks pensive before the start of stage one of the 2014 Tour of Britain

Linking the scenic forestry roads with breathtaking views and iconic Welsh landscapes, challenging climbs and inspiring countryside will culminate in the closed roads finale of Chester city centre.

Cllr Stuart Parker, executive member for culture and economy, said: “We are delighted to be hosting the Mark Cavendish Rise Above Sportive in 2015. This continues our long standing involvement in cycling events and builds on the legacy of the 2012 Olympics and Cheshire West and Chester Council’s commitment to cycling. It is even more pleasing Mark Cavendish has chosen Chester to be the home of his event.”

All three sportive routes will start in finish in the heart of Chester, with riders heading along the closed cobbled roads beneath the famous Eastgate Clock and then out across the River Dee into the beautiful countryside of North Wales with Snowdonia as the backdrop.

Three separate, circular routes will allow the Rise Above Sportive to appeal to a wide range of abilities of cyclist, from the 65-kilometre Enthusiast route, to a 120-kilometre Purist route with 1,720-metres of ascent to the 185-kilometre Extremist route with 2,800-metres of ascent.

Both the Purist and Extremist routes feature the iconic climb of Horseshoe Pass, with the longer distance also including the quiet roads and stunning scenery around Llyn Brenig and Clocaenog Forest.

Mark, together with his CVNDSH brand team and cycling event management specialists SweetSpot, are actively overseeing the creation and establishment of the Rise Above Sportive, to create a premium cycling experience, which is hoped will attract sportive riders new and old.

Right to Play and Help for Heroes will be the two Official Charity Partners for Rise Above Sportive. Mark has personally supported both charities for a number of years and is delighted to have them involved in his inaugural Official Sportive.

Entries are open now via the official website, www.riseabovesportive.com

For riders who want to sign up straight away there will be an Early Bird special from January 28 - February 28. For signing up during this period you will receive a 10% discount before increasing slightly to the entry fee of £35 on March 1.

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