Guernsey Press

Inter-insular on cards as Velo Club unveils 2024 calendar

A ‘nocturne’ hill climb at Easter and the return of inter-insulars are among the main attractions of this year’s domestic road cycling calendar.

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The L’Eree Circuit will host the first inter-insular road race in five years at the end of May. (Picture by Andrew Le Poidevin, 32989959)

After the highs of a home Island Games, the Guernsey Velo Club have unveiled their roadmap for engaging their many riders, from juniors and newbies to those eyeing Orkney 2025.

Within this busy calendar, club president Alex Margison has welcomed the return to a four-race format for the PVK Easter Festival.

Day two of the festival – Saturday 30 March – is a Le Val des Terres hill climb with an extra twist, as riders so used to early alarms will instead be competing in the dark after 8pm.

‘It was the intention to do something different this year,’ Margison said.

‘We had a few things we tried and could not pull off, so maybe we will do those next year.

‘We planned to do a “nocturne” stage at some point. It’s different to the usual early- morning start – you can have a lie-in.’

Bookending it is a Good Friday criterium and Easter Sunday road race, while Monday’s action consists of a 10-mile time trial.

For the first time, there will be a mini junior festival comprising three races alongside the senior events.

There will also be women-only races for Friday and Sunday’s events in order to encourage female participation.

Deeper into the spring, the inter-insulars make their long-awaited comeback with a May bank holiday double-bill.

Sunday 26 May marks a road race around the L’Eree Circuit, while the next morning comes a 25-mile time trial. They are the first road inter-insulars in five years.

‘Hopefully we’re going to get a few over from Jersey, as the ferries work that weekend,’ the GVC president said.

‘It will be quite good to get that up and running. It’s the first time we have done an inter-insular on the road since 2019.

‘We had the cyclocross inter-insular [in Jersey] and it went well. Hopefully we can have a few people over.’

Another trend that has mounted a resurgence recently is hill climbing.

In recent years the GVC have focused their hill climbs into a short and sharp four-part series, which Margison credits for an increase in interest.

‘Hill climbing had gone out of vogue, and condensing it into a mini series has piqued a bit of interest.

‘It seems to be doing quite well and it seems quite popular.’

The series returns this year with four events in September and October.

But the road criteriums will be following its lead this time, front-running the hill climb series with a championship and six races – one per week – from August into September.

As for single-day endurance efforts, the 50-mile time trial and a 100km road race will test the mettle of even the club’s hardiest riders.

For the off-roaders, the Mountain Bike Tour of Guernsey is back after missing a year for the home Games. It will run from 14 to 21 July.

Further details for the ‘TOG’, and a possible mountain bike inter-insular, are to be confirmed.

  • The road season officially opens on Sunday 3 March with a 10-mile time trial. The full calendar is available here.