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Isle of Wight Cycling Festival honours Bradley Wiggins

Tue 25 Sep 2012

Isle of Wight Cycling Festival honours Bradley Wiggins

Individuals planning to head to the Isle of Wight Cycling Festival this week have been asked to pay tribute to Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins.

The star, who also collected more Olympic medals during the London 2012 Games earlier in the year, has also lent his name to the central event in the annual festival.

Hundreds of people take part in the Cycle the Wight race every year, with the idea to pedal around the whole of the island's coast.

But this year, the organisers of the festival have decided to pay tribute to national hero Wiggins by nicknaming the trip as the Wiggo the Wight challenge.

Participants will also be asked to don stick-on sideburns so they can emulate the cycling hero, who became the first ever British winner of the Tour de France earlier in the year.

Wiggins is likely to be among the frontrunners for the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year Award later in the year and he will be facing competition from the likes of US Open tennis champion Andy Murray, double Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah and heptathlete Jess Ennis.

The cyclist added the road time trial gold to his previous wins in events including the team pursuit and the individual pursuit, making it his fourth gold in total.

Claire Critchison from the Isle of Wight Council organises the Isle of Wight Cycling Festival and explained the Olympics has provided the sport with a profile boost.

The Isle of Wight Cycling Festival sees thousands of people who are at home on two wheels head to the island for the nine days of sporting competition and associated activities.

Ms Critchison said: "The achievements of Team GB Cycling - and in particular Bradley Wiggins - has resulted in an increase in participants at the festival this year and we think it is only right we recognise their success."

She added Wiggins is likely to be too busy to travel to the Isle of Wight in order to take part in the festival, especially as he recently pulled out of taking part in the Tour of Britain due to illness.

Almost 60 rides will be taking place on the Isle of Wight for the cycling festival, which is already underway and will be running until the weekend.

They include a wide range of events, from those that are suitable for those who are brand new to travelling on two wheels to those who are competitive cyclists who want to test themselves against some of the keenest bikers in the country.

A new four-hour endurance event - the Chevy Chase - is expected to be among the highlights of the Isle of Wight Cycling Festival this year and it is set to take place on a purpose-built off road track in Cheverton on Sunday (September 30th).

The Isle of Wight was named by Lonely Planet as one of the world's best places to go on a cycling holiday earlier in the year and this is likely to have provided a profile boost for the event.

It was listed alongside places including the Otago Peninsula in New Zealand, San Juan Islands in Washington in the USA and the West Coast in Tasmania, Australia.

Mio Cyclo is the headline sponsor of the Isle of Wight Cycling Festival this summer, while a range of local businesses have also let their support to the event.

Another of the top races the Isle of Wight Cycling Festival is the testing Hills Killer challenge, which saw entrants take on up to 14 of the island's biggest climbs.

The Isle of Wight Cycling Festival began at the weekend and it set to run until the 30th, when the Chevy Chase brings the event to an end for another year.

Posted by Carla WinterADNFCR-3083-ID-801456091-ADNFCR

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