MORE than 4,000 cyclists are set to circle Scotland’s most famous body of water as the sold-out Etape Loch Ness event returns for a third year.
Starting and finishing in Inverness, riders will pedal for 66 miles on closed roads around the loch this Sunday.
Cyclists face the toughest part of the ride on the course’s south side, which features a 4.8 mile climb with a gradient of more than 10 per cent.
Event director Malcolm Sutherland said: “We are delighted to be welcoming so many cyclists to the Highland capital for what promises to be one of the highlights on Scotland’s sporting calendar.
“The Highlands is known for its hospitality, and we have worked hard since the first Etape Loch Ness to extend that warm welcome to all of our participants, many of whom have never travelled to the north of Scotland before.”
For those planning to spectate rather than take part, riders are due to set off at 6.15am, with the fastest riders returning to Inverness from 9am onwards. Etap Loch Ness participants will pass through the villages of Drumnadrochit, Invermoriston, Fort Augustus, Foyers, Inverfarigaig and Dores.
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s director of events, said: “We are delighted to support Etape Loch Ness once again in 2016, giving thousands of cycling enthusiasts a unique opportunity to circle the loch on closed roads, taking in the marvellous setting while challenging themselves in a vibrant and unique sportive.”
Road closures will be in effect from 5.35am until 12.40pm on the day of the event.
• For more information about the event, visit www.etapelochness.com