A LONGER battle is in store for athletes taking part in this year’s Cheshire Classic Women’s Road Race.

The 2014 event, which takes place in Northwich on April 27, will see cyclists ride two extra laps, taking the race distance to a gruelling 92km.

And with a course around Weaverham and Acton Bridge, this also means two extra ascents of the daunting hill known locally as The Cliff.

Race organiser Andy Wood, from Weaver Valley Cycling Club (WVCC), said: “Last year we had nearly 300 people coming out to watch, the hill at Acton Bridge is buzzing.

“The riders go past pretty slowly because of the steepness and it lets you cheer and shout right up close.

“The Classic is also seen by the riders as the most prestigious race on the calendar, it's been running since 1980s and the list of winners reads like a who-is-who, all of them want to have the race on their palmares.”

Previous winners of the WVCC-organised Cheshire Classic include Lucy Garner, Lizzie Armitstead, Nicole Cooke, Mandy Jones and Paralympic gold medallist Dame Sarah Storey.

Andy said: “What other event in Northwich can you go out and watch current World Champions and Olympic champions like Dame Sarah Storey race?

“This is top quality racing. It's unparalleled and what's more it's free too!”

This year’s race, part of British Cycling’s National Series, also boasts an increased prize fund and a major new sponsor, Taylor Wimpey, alongside returning sponsors Delamere Dairy, Epic Cycles, de Vere Hotels and Your Sports Therapist.

Anthony Mansfield, sales and marketing director for Taylor Wimpey Manchester, said: “We are passionate about working alongside the communities in which we build and the road race is a great way for us to show our support and offer up vital funding for what is always a great event.

“We are delighted that our involvement and contribution will play a key role in making the 2014 Cheshire Classic race the biggest yet, and would like to wish all the competitors the best of luck.”