A Shropshire cycling team is celebrating after placing second overall in the Giro Sardegna road race – a six day event in Sardinia.
Liam Holohan, 30, from Shrewsbury, also won his age category, coming third overall while Chris Pook, 35, from Shrewsbury, came second in his age category, coming 15th overall.
Four members of the Rhino Velo Race Team, run by Chris Pook of Estate Agents Cooper Green Pooks and Ben Lawrence of Beaumont Lawrence Chartered Insurance Brokers, took part in the event.
Matt Davies, 35, from Minsterley finished 21st and Tom Pook, 30, from Shrewsbury, finished 41st.
Chris Pook said: “We are pleased with our results. It’s encouraging to know our training is going in the right direction and it bodes well for the rest of the season that really starts to take off from May onwards.”
“It is important to get a week of racing in the legs, especially when there is a mix of hills and mountains.
“It is the first time the team has entered this race and we achieved our aim of placing highly in every stage and of course overall.”
Liam, a former professional rider and now owner of Holohan Coaching, was close to getting the yellow jersey in several stages.
He picked up a couple of second place finishes, which meant he started the final stage at eight seconds off the lead.
Mr Lawrence, who also sponsors the team, said: “The short final stage included a 12km climb to the finish line, with a particularly steep 4km at the bottom.
“Liam pushed as hard as he could but it wasn’t enough and he was caught as the road flattened out and ultimately finished a fantastic third overall and first in his age category.
“Chris Pook and Matt Davies rode strongly all week and Chris was always in or around the top 15 to take 15th overall and 2nd in his age category, which meant a trip to the podium.
“Matt finished 21st overall and Tom Pook just outside the top 40, which is promising for the season ahead given his recent struggles with illness.”
After a busy week racing, the team is not stopping there.
Chris Pook, Graham South, from Telford, Barrie Pugh, from Hanwood and Matthew Davies, from Minsterley, will take part in the Paramount Spring Road Race on May 6 while Liam Holohan, Kirk Vickers, from Oswestry, Matthew Garthwaite from Newport and Olly Hayward, from Ludlow, will take part in the Tour of Ulster from May 5-7.
Chris Pook said: “We are again hoping for some top results from our riders.
“The Tour of Ulster is a prestigious event and one of Ireland’s longest established races. It attracts top Irish elite riders. This year’s race sees the cyclists starting and finishing all three stages on the Newry Road in Banbridge and it will be a tough three days of racing.”
Rhino Velo is sponsored in 2018 by Cooper Green Pooks, Doppio Protection, Beaumont Lawrence, Holohan Coaching and Rhino Velo Pyrenees.