Thousands of cyclists to descend on the Peak District

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Two thousand cyclists from across the globe will head into the Peak District for an event celebrating sport, camaraderie and good food.

The L’Eroica Britannia event will see riders clad in vintage gear travel through miles of untamed countryside along 100-mile, 55-mile and 30-mile trails.

The event has historically been run in the warm Tuscan hills of Italy for 17 years and this will be its first time on British soil.

One participant got into the spirit early, setting off from Berlin last Friday on his vintage road bike and themed cycling kit to pedal the 1,400km route to Bakewell.

A choir will greet riders at the end of the Monsal tunnel and six villages en route will be festooned with vintage decorations, offering refreshment stops for the cyclists.

The Duke of Devonshire will launch the event by opening a three-day vintage festival at Bakewell Showground tomorrow (Friday).

Seventy children from Great Longstone School will sing in the opening ceremony which will be attended by West Derbyshire MP Patrick McLoughlin, professional rider Malcolm Elliott, the Eroica Britannia team Tim Hubbard, Nick Cotton, Gian Bohan and Marco Mori, and the founder of Eroica in Italy, Claudio Marinageli.

The free festival is dedicated to flamboyant dressing up, vintage sales and live music from Gregory S Davies Band, The Payroll Union and the Daydream Club. Thornbridge brewery have produced a festival tipple, L’Eroica Britannia Pale Ale. Whaley Bridge cycle shop the Bike Factory will host a stand at the Showground.

A welcome home party for the riders on Sunday will feature a Spitfire flyover at 3pm.