Highlands & Islands

Loch Ness: New cycling event set to be held in 2014

Cyclists at Loch Ness
Image caption Organisers expect the event will attract riders from all over the world

A new cycling event is to be held on roads around a Scottish loch.

Organisers of next May's 67-mile (108km) Etape Loch Ness expect up to 1,000 riders to enter.

It will start and finish in Inverness and follow the A82 on the north side of the loch through Drumnadrochit, Invermoriston and Fort Augustus.

Cyclists will return to Inverness using roads on the south side of Loch Ness. During the event, roads will be closed to other traffic.

Entries were due to open on Saturday, but the level of interest has been so high that all 1,000 spaces available have already been pre-booked.

Event director Malcolm Sutherland said the achievements of professional cyclists, such as Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins, were attracting more people to take up road cycling.

He said: "Road cycling in the UK is undergoing an incredible resurgence and that's largely down to the success in recent years for British cyclists competing on the international stage.

"I've long held the belief that Loch Ness would be the perfect venue for an iconic and professionally-organised road cycling event that appeals to experienced and novice cyclists from both the UK and overseas.

"It feels like the time is right to launch such an event, and all the signs are pointing towards it being hugely popular."

The event will raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.