Businesses in Highland Perthshire have warned that an expanded Etape Caledonia cycle event will be a disaster for their fragile economy.
Organisers IMG hope to expand the existing route to take in Loch Tay and Ben Lawers in 2018, offering participants the chance to take-on a 100 mile challenge.
They are expected to take plans to Perth and Kinross Council within the next month in the hope of securing permission.
Regular participants have long called for an extended route and the event is keen to deliver, but that has brought IMG into conflict with the community.
Roads around Loch Tay will have to be closed to enable the event to take place, leaving businesses, farms and holiday homes cut-off for the best part of a day.
And so early does the event and its organisation get under way, many locals fear that two days of trade will be lost at what is a peak tourism time for the rural area.
Highland SNP Councillor Mike Williamson said there was “great concern about the plan” as he questioned the proposals put forward.
“For me the key issue is about the economic impact of the event and road closures on such a fragile rural area.
“I am not sure where the benefit is to businesses and homes in this part of Highland Perthshire from the Etape Caledonia.
“There are other routes that could be used that would have a less detrimental impact upon local people.”
One of the concerns about the closed-road event has been the impact it has on communities, with the benefits largely focused upon the Etape’s hub at Pitlochry.
Paul Goodwin, owner of the Ben Lawers Hotel, said: “I think this will be terrible.
“Basically I will have to close my business for the day. There will be no passing trade and I will have to tell guests they will have to leave early because the road closures will come in at around 8am.
“As soon as I do that I expect to see cancellation after cancellation for the night before the Etape. I may lose two day’s trade.
“We are only a small family business and I simply can’t afford to lose that kind of money in May.
“It is peak season for us and we do very well with Sunday lunches. Just how much money will we lose?
“You have to question what benefit anyone in this area will see from the event as it is all concentrated on Pitlochry.
“We are enjoying a great boost from The Enchanted Forest event because the town is packed with visitors, but the Etape is different.”
Mr Goodwin said the road closures proposed would see the northern side of the loch off-limits to traffic for a number of hours, requiring a 60 mile detour on roads unsuitable for larger vehicles.
“Farms, holiday cottages and businesses will all be affected and I hope we will all get a chance to have our say before the council takes a decision on whether to allow this.”
A spokeswoman for the Etape organisers recently confirmed: “IMG has been in formal discussions with the relevant stakeholders for a route extension and await the necessary approvals.”
Around 5,000 people are expected to take part in the next Etape in May 2018. Interested cyclists are already being invited to register their interest.