7 February 2018

The Magnificent Seven cycle race will have a new base when it returns to Sheffield for the third time on Sunday 11 March.

The event will start and finish in Bradfield – a picturesque Peak District village which sits within the Sheffield boundary just seven miles outside of the city centre – to allow more entries and more space for parking.

The race is one of four headline events of The Outdoor City Weekender, running at locations across Sheffield from 9 to 11 March 2018.

A cross between a sportive and a hill climb, the Magnificent Seven will see 130 cyclists – that’s 30 more than last year – battle up seven of Sheffield’s toughest ascents. The 2018 route, which is slightly more than 26 miles long, presents each rider with over 4,200ft of climbing and inclines ranging from 9 to 23 per cent.

The race begins at 8.30am and takes in Mill Lee Road and Hoar Stones Road, Hagg Hill, Blake Street, Fern Road and Thrush Street, Birch House Avenue and Birks Wood Drive, Back Lane, and the infamous Cote de Bradfield.

This final climb challenged the world-class Tour de France riders at the Yorkshire Grand Depart in 2014 and provides spectacular views over Sheffield from its summit.

Event organiser Marc Etches said: “We are really pleased to be part of The Outdoor City Weekender and are looking forward to showcasing our great city once more with the Magnificent Seven.

“Last year’s event was superb and we’re increasing the entries from 100 to 130 for 2018 to meet demand.

“The event is unique in the UK and gives the competitors the opportunity to race up traffic-free closed roads, for which we thank Sheffield City Council.

“Professional riders are usually the only ones who get to ride on closed roads so this is a great selling point for the event, as evidenced by the veteran’s category selling out on the first day, which was amazing.

“We are really looking forward to seeing the support from local residents, especially the crowds on Hagg Hill, Blake Street and the Thrush Street cobbles. This support is fantastic for the event and much appreciated by organisers and riders alike.

“The route really showcases Sheffield as The Outdoor City and the riders will be treated to some spectacular views at the top of every climb, especially the highlight of this year’s route – the Cote de Bradfield.”

Cyclists will ride with motorbike escorts and lead cars between each of the seven hills, and then gather at the bottom of each of the hills – which will be closed for the event – before racing for points to the summit.

The first 15 to the top then receive points which count towards the grand prize of being crowned King or Queen of the Mountains, for which the winners receive a trophy.

The ride is aimed at amateur club riders and, as well as capturing the imagination of local clubs, attracts cyclists from across the country to take up the seven hill challenge.

Both men and women over 16 are encouraged to ride with equal prize money for both categories and there’s also a prize for the over 40s, as the fastest veterans are awarded separate points and prizes.

Last year’s men’s champion Andy Nichols will be defending his title against tough competition from the likes of Cycling Sheffield’s Joe Clark who finished 4th in the National Hill Climb Championships, Calum Brown and Rick Bailey from B38 Underpin Racing and notable climber Andy Cunningham from All Terrain Cycles.

Stand-out female favourite is Rebecca Goodson, who missed out on first place last year by just one point, as well as 2017 entrants Molly Horsley Frost and Abbie Taylor, who finished 4th and 6th, respectively.

The veteran category, which sold out in less than nine hours, sees some new riders stepping up for the first time. James Allen from Sheffrec Cycling Club is a firm favourite, and Simon Warren who finished 3rd last year, as well as newcomers Simon Froberg and Olly Humphreys, will be giving everyone a run for their money.

All entrants will receive refreshments before and afterwards, and each rider will also receive a free cycling cap for their efforts. Cow bells will again be handed out to spectators along the route to help cheer the riders along the tough climbs.

Places are filling up very fast. To snap up one of the few remaining spots visit https://www.riderhq.com/events/77304/2018-magnificent-7.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment at Sheffield City Council, said: “We encourage everybody to come out and cheer on the cyclists as they tackle our famous Sheffield hills.

“We know from the thousands of local people who have lined the streets in recent years to watch the Tour de France Grand Depart, the Tour de Yorkshire and previous Magnificent Sevens that Sheffield people have great enthusiasm for cycling races. We’re sure this year will be no different.

“And anyone who watches The Outdoor City Weekender and is inspired to take part in similar activities can find everything they need to know at www.theoutdoorcity.co.uk.

“There is so much outdoor adventure to be had in Sheffield – let’s make the most of what’s on our doorstep.”

As well as The Magnificent Seven, the headline events of The Outdoor City Weekender will be the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival (ShAFF), the Rab Climbing Works International Festival (CWIF) and the Howard Street Dual.

ShAFF, which runs over all three days of the Weekender, features films based on all sorts of adventure sports. Films will be shown at the Showroom Cinema and the ShAFF cinema truck, which will be parked outside Sheffield train station.

The Rab CWIF, taking place at the Climbing Works on 10 and 11 March, attracts around 450 climbers, including professionals from around the world, who compete alongside amateurs of all ages and abilities.

And the Howard Street Dual will be held on Saturday 10 March. Invited riders will race head to head down a short course, descending along grassy and gritty slopes from Hallam Square towards the railway station.

Fringe events to take place as part of The Outdoor City Weekender will be announced in the coming weeks and are set to include runs, cycling events, family fun and much more.

For more information on the Weekender, visit the website at www.theoutdoorcity.co.uk/outdoor-city-weekender.