THE 53rd annual Three Peaks Cyclo-Cross, which is widely regarded as the toughest off-road cycle race in the world, takes place this coming Sunday from its now familiar start-finish location, Helwith Bridge.

Starting at 9.30am, the race covers more than 40 miles - including more than 5,000 feet of ascent and descent - of cycling and bike humping over the towering contours of Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-Ghent.

It has once again attracted its maximum capacity of 650 entrants, with many more potential competitors having been reluctantly turned down due to safety regulations.

Among the competitors, from both home and overseas, are the ten-times previous winner and course record holder, Rob Jebb from Staveley, South Lakeland, and three previous female champions, Ruth Gamwell from Macclesfield, Heather Dawe from the Ilkley area and Renee Sexton from the Otley area.