Though the weather might be drifting towards non-summer, there’s still plenty of exciting sporting events coming up. Hedi Mehrez, Sarah Davies and Alys Hewitt have the best of the bunch.
TOUR OF BRITAIN
With Geraint Thomas winning the Tour de France in July – the first time a Welshman has ever done so, and still only the third Briton to do so after Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome – it’s now time for the Tour Of Britain to return. Although the tour will primarily take place in England, covering the south-west, Midlands, the north-west and London, the first stage will take place in Wales. Staring on the Carmarthenshire coast, Pembrey Country Park will host the departure of the 2018 race. It’s the first time that Carmarthenshire will play host to the race the host venue, and for the first stage, the riders will pass north to Carmarthen, then curve right over the top of the Brecon Beacons and down the Usk valley until they reach Newport, a whopping 108 miles later.
Pembrey Country Park to Newport, Sun 2-Sun 9 Sept. Admission: free to spectate. Info: www.tourofbritain.co.uk
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE BEGINS FOR WALES
The qualification process for Euro 2020 begins this month, the first time the tournament will held with no specified host nation but across Europe. With all UEFA teams hoping for one of 24 spots in the final tournament, Wales will be hoping to repeat that glorious summer of 2016, where Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Ashley Williams and co. led the team to the semi-finals. Despite the frankly convoluted qualification process this time round thanks to the Nations League format (nope, we don’t get it either), Wales have been drawn into a three-team group alongside the Republic of Ireland and Denmark. It’ll be interesting to say the least: Wales will be hoping to avenge the 2017 defeat to Ireland that ended their hopes of World Cup qualification, and Ireland remain a stodgy, defensively resilient team to play against. Meanwhile Denmark, who got to the last 16 in the World Cup, are making headlines for all the wrong reasons in the build up to their clash with the Welsh. In a dispute over commercial rights, the Danish senior players are refusing to sign a new national team agreement. If nothing changes, a Barbarian-esque assortment of lower-league and futsal players are in line for a potential call-up to make up the numbers. This will be Ryan Giggs’ first time in the Wales dugout in a competitive fixture; he is mostly untested at this level, but so was Chris Coleman all those years ago. Whilst the Republic of Ireland will prove a stubborn test, the Danish fixture promises to be absolutely fascinating.
Wales v Ireland, Cardiff City Stadium, Thurs 6 Sept; Denmark v Wales, Ceres Park, Aarhus, Denmark, Sun 9 Sept. Tickets: prices vary. Info: www.faw.cymru
The Iron Man challenge is said to be one of the toughest races in the world. Starting with a 2.4-mile swim, onto a 112-mile bike ride, and finishing off with a 26.2-mile run – well, you’d have to be made of iron to take it on! Returning to Tenby this month, Wales’ Iron Man has a good reputation for high spirits and support. The race holds some high rankings over previous years that will be difficult to compete with. With the winner finishing in just over nine hours last year, how do you think you’d fare? Whether you’re already taking part or just want to witness the madness for yourself, go and join the thousands of people that attend the spectacle every year.
Tenby North Beach, Pembrokeshire, Sun 9 Sept. Admission: free to spectate; registration for participation sold out. Info: www.eu.ironman.com
WELSH INTERNATIONAL FOUR DAYS WALKS
A staple of the Welsh walking calendar since 1980, the Welsh International Four Days Walks encourages entrants to partake in physical exercise whilst enjoying the picturesque natural beauty of the Welsh landscape, hiking alongside the various mountains, rivers, streams and forests Llanwrtyd Wells has to offer. Routes of 10, 15 or 25 miles are marked out for walkers to travel at their own pace, as the walks are non-competitive and designed to be as challenging as individual participants want them to be. The walks are also intended to be a largely sociable event, where people can share their enthusiasm for the activity, and as part of the scheme organisers will offer live entertainment every night to entrants after a long day of rambling.
Llanwrtyd Wells, Wed 19-Sat 22 Sept. Tickets: £9 per day/£30 for four days. Info: www.green-events.co.uk