Cycling events we're looking forward to in 2013

2012 was an amazing year for cycling. We’ve been taking a look at our 2013 calendar to see which events we’re most looking forward to…

Endurance race

World Track Championships (20-24 February)

This year’s UCI Track World Championships will take place in Minsk, Belarus later this month. Hosted in the multifunctional Minsk Arena with its 2,000 seat velodrome, the world’s best track cyclists will meet to compete and try to retain their championship status. Last year saw several world records broken and medals won across the board by GB cyclists. We’re sure that with Olympic gold medallists Jason Kenny, Philip Hindes, Ed Clancy, Steve Burke, Dani King and Laura Trott – as well as a host of new young riders  taking part, it’s set to be a gripping event to watch. Find out more here.

Paris-Nice (3-10 March)

The ‘Race to the Sun’ returns for its 71st edition in March. This year’s route is a classic affair with the race starting in the Yveslines area and the traditional final Col d’Eze time trial. The race also incorporates a summit finish at Montagne de Lure, the sister mountain of Mont Ventoux. Last year saw Bradley Wiggins become the second Briton to win this race. Who will reach the sun first this year?

Tweed Run

Tweed Run (13 April)

This fun and quirky group bike ride through London is set to return in 2013. Participants are expected to dress in traditional British attire, especially tweed. Any bike is allowed to take part from vintage bicycles to Penny Farthings to Barclays hire  as long as the effort’s made to recreate the spirit and decorum of a bygone era. If you can’t take part, this is definitely an event to watch. Due to popularity the organisers implement a lottery system for spaces, which opens this year on 14 February. Find out more here.

Giro d’Italia (4 – 26 May)

For Wiggo fans this really is the one to watch in 2013. The Tour of Italy returns to our screens in May and Sir Bradley Wiggins has confirmed that this is the race he’s targeting, even going as far to describe it as ‘my new challenge, my new inspiration, the new fire that burns inside me.’ And with this year’s coveted maglia rosa designed by Sir Paul Smith, there’s never been a better time for Italy to witness Wiggo Fever. The 2013 race, which many consider the warm up and test of form for the Tour de France, is scheduled to start in Naples and finish in Brescia, with the island of Ischia will also host a stage for the first time in 54 years.

Team Sky at the Tour de France 2012

Tour de France (29 June-21 July)

The biggest race of the cycling calendar is back for its 100th edition, and we can’t wait. Starting on the French island of Corsica and ending with the traditional evening finish on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, the race will see the riders clock up an amazing 3,360km in three weeks.

With Bradley Wiggins focusing on the Giro d’Italia, it’s widely anticipated that Chris Froome will be Team Sky’s leader and main contender for the Maillot Jaune, with the route better suited to his climbing skills. While the route contains three time trials, it also includes four summit finishes: Ax 3 Domaines, Mont Ventoux, two ascents up Alpe d'Huez and not least a climb to Anncey-Semnoz in the Alps on the penultimate day, which may determine the winner.

Meanwhile Mark Cavendish will be looking to increase his current record of 23 stage wins and creep ever closer to Eddy Mercx’s 34 Tour de France stage wins. There’s also a chance we might see Cav in Yellow for the first time in the relatively flat opening stage from Porto Vecchio to Bastia. One thing for sure is the 2013 Tour will be spectacular from start to finish.

Ride London (3-4 August)

Ride London 2013 is a new annual two day festival of cycling in London. Set up as part of the legacy from the 2012 Games by the Mayor of London and his agencies, Ride London aims to be a world-class festival of cycling.

The event will combine the fun and accessible element of a free family mass-participation ride (‘Free Cycle’) with the excitement of watching the world’s best professional cyclists race the following day. The festival will also allow amateur riders to take part in a 100 mile challenge on the same closed roads as the professionals and raise money for good causes. Find out more here.

Vuelta a Espana (24 August-15 September)

The Tour of Spain, along with the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, makes up cycling’s prestigious three-week-long Grand Tours.

Taking place over 23 days (with just two rest days), the format of the Vuelta stays the same this year with at least two time trials, the passage through the Pyrenees mountains and a finish in the Spanish capital of Madrid. But this year’s course is set to be one of the hardest Grand Tours of recent history with 11 punishing summit finishes. It’s decidedly a climber’s course, which promises some cracking racing. Find out more here.

Tour of Britain

Tour of Britain (15-22 September)

This year sees the Tour of Britain celebrate its tenth birthday. Taking place over eight days, the race will showcase some of Britain’s best scenery as some of the world’s top cyclists battle it out to succeed last year’s winner Jonathan Tiernan Locke. The full route for the 2013 Tour will be announced in the Spring. Find out more here.