A CYCLING event that attracts thousands of competitors to Gwent will return in 2018, it has been announced.

Almost 10,000 riders took part in Velothon Wales last month - a event including two closed-road road routes snaking through parts of Newport, Monmouthshire, Torfaen and Caerphilly.

Organisers have now announced a return in 2018 with a host of significant changes.

Riders will once again get the opportunity to take-on the famous climbs of the Tumble and Caerphilly Mountain as the popular 140km route remains in place.

Those looking for something different will be able to sign-up for a pair of brand-new, shorter routes, which will be revealed in the Autumn.

Run 4 Wales chief executive Matt Newman said: “Velothon Wales has become an iconic event in the Welsh sporting calendar and we look forward to welcoming cycling enthusiasts from across the globe to take-in our stunning scenery on a series of challenging courses.

“With our strong track-record in managing mass-participation sporting events in Wales, we feel we can add considerable local expertise to help grow the event over the next three years. There is obviously a big demand for closed-road cycling events and we want to ensure that Wales remains part of this global series.”

Registration for the 140km route is also opening soon and demand is expected to be high.

Run 4 Wales - the events team behind the Cardiff Half Marathon - hope the event will become a permanent fixture in the Welsh sporting calendar and have signed an agreement with Ironman to manage the race through to at least 2020.

Run 4 Wales is introducing a host of changes, using feedback from cyclists who participated in this year’s event.

The introduction of race pack postage means athletes will no longer have to arrive a day early to pick up race essentials and a new lower price will be available to those registering early.

A pair of brand-new shorter routes will allow cyclists of all abilities and ambitions to get involved with the event.

Head of operations at Ironman, Oliver Schiek, said: “We know that Velothon Wales is in a safe pair of hands and look forward to continuing the relationship with Run 4 Wales for the foreseeable future.

“The Velothon series is now an established global brand with events across Europe, Canada and Australia and we look forward to the fourth edition of the event in Wales in 2018.”

The race’s normal 140km route starts and finishes in Cardiff, cuts through Newport and Monmouthshire before heading through Usk and up the Tumble.

It then passes through Blaenavon, Abergavenny, Pontypool, Newbridge, Ystrad Mynach and Caerphilly before returning to the capital.

The race is also known for extensive road closures which are a divisive issue for residents living alongside the race route.

For details, visit the website velothon.com/events/velothon-wales.aspx.