A new three day cycling race through the Shropshire countryside will attract riders from across the UK, organisers said today.
The event, called the Giro Del Mon, will replace the Shrewsbury Grand Prix for 2018, which has been organised for the past four years by Shropshire business men Ben Lawrence and Chris Pook.
It will take place from May 26-28 and includes a day at RAF Shawbury to help celebrate 100 years of the RAF with special permission granted to race on the closed airfield.
Organisers revealed they wanted to offer something different for riders but said the Shrewsbury Grand Prix could certainly return in the future.
The new race will continue to be hosted by the Shrewsbury based Rhino Velo Race Team, which is run by Chris Pook of Estate Agents Cooper Green Pooks and Ben Lawrence of Beaumont Lawrence Chartered Insurance Brokers.
Mr Lawrence said: “This year, we have organised a National B three day ‘stage race’ called the Giro Del Mon that takes in some of the finest scenery in the Shropshire Hills.
“We decided to hold the event over three days to encourage riders and spectators from afar to come to Shropshire and see what it has to offer. Many will stay in local B&Bs and hotels and will, of course, eat out so it also offers a boost to the local economy as well as introducing people to some of the most beautiful countryside in the UK’’
The race, supported by Pro Vision Custom Cycling Clothing, founded by former UK road race champion Steve Joughin, will consist of five stages in three days.
It is a national level event open to 20 teams of four riders each, with a maximum of 80 riders and a minimum age of 18-years-old.
Riders will race through Hope Valley, Westbury, Worthen, Shawbury Airfield and the Stiperstones area.
On the Saturday, riders will first tackle a Team Time Trial up Hope Valley (out of Minsterley) before taking on a road race in the Minsterley, Westbury and Worthen area in the afternoon.
On the Sunday, there will be an Individual Time Trial around the airfield at RAF Shawbury followed by a ‘Kermesse’, a punchy style of racing popular in Belgium which often features flat terrain and crosswinds, which are often found on an airfield.
On Bank Holiday Monday, riders will take part in the final ‘Queen’ stage, which includes three ascents of the Stiperstones from Ratlinghope and finishes on the top near The Bog Café.
Mr Pook said: “The event will attract teams from all over the UK and aims to showcase some of the best roads that members of the Rhino Velo Race Team regularly train on.
“We are honoured that RAF Shawbury has allowed us to hold part of the race on the airfield, which will be a great experience for the riders to participate in the 100 year celebrations.”
Mr Lawrence said there will also be a two day support event open to third and fourth category male riders, juniors and also females that will run over the Saturday and Sunday. Entry is available on the British Cycling website.
He said: “We know riders will really enjoy taking part in this new race.
“We are extremely grateful for the brilliant support we have received over the past four years from a small number of high quality sponsors, without whom there would have been no Shrewsbury Grand Prix.
“The likes of Hatchers Solicitors, Dyke Yaxley Accountants, Flex IT, Cooper Green Pooks Estate Agents, Beaumont Lawrence Insurance Brokers, Stan’s Cycles Trek Concept Store, Salop Leisure, Sentient Digital, Hatfield Jaguar Land Rover & Pure Telecom have all been particularly supportive over the years and many have been involved since the first edition.
“We have also had the help of a superb team, who have delivered a safe, high quality event that has drawn big crowds to Shrewsbury and generated a brilliant buzz for both riders and spectators alike.
“This isn’t the end of that story but as biking enthusiasts and race organisers, we just wanted to try something different.
“Many of the riders in Rhino Velo Race Team, the team we run, have a big passion for stage racing, which we are keen to support too.”
To enter the Giro Del Mon, visit www.britishcycling.org.uk/events/details/172665/Giro-Del-Mon