A Shropshire cycling team is travelling to Europe this weekend to take part in the Giro Sardegna road race – a six day event taking place in Sardinia from April 22.
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, will take part in the Gran Giro event – six stages over six days covering both flat and mountainous terrain.
The Giro Sardegna team will be made up of former professional rider and now coach Liam Holohan, 30, from Shrewsbury, brothers Tom Pook, 30, and Chris Pook, 35, both from Shrewsbury, and Matthew Davies, 35, from Minsterley.
Chris Pook, who recently took part in Ireland’s Ras Mumhan race, said: “Sardinia is a beautiful island and is a road cyclist’s paradise.
“We wanted to take part to present new challenges to the team. Our aim this year isto offer our riders an opportunity to take on more interesting races and racing in Sardinia certainly reflects that.
“It’s the first time the team has entered this race and we are hoping to place highly in every stage and of course target the overall.”
The Giro Sardegna’s first stage will start in San Teodoro, ending in Budoni and taking in some spectacular views.
Day two of the race, which starts in Concas, is entirely flat but with very fast riding.
Mr Pook said: “It will be very challenging as you will also need to be very controlled. The third stage will see us reach Capo Comino, a working lighthouse, while the fourth stage, is the decider or the ‘Queen Stage’ taking in Monte Albo and plenty of long climbs. The rides goes from Sant’Anna on the Monte Albo road, with spectacular views of the northeast coast. There is a super fast descent and it will be one of the decisive stages of the Giro Sardegna 2018.”
Day five is a short stage to give riders a rest after the longest stage the day before, although it finishes with an uphill. The race starts from the beach of La Caletta going to Siniscola and finishing in Budoni’s central avenue.
Mr Pook said the last day of the event will be an exciting end to the race.
He said: “There is an uphill finish and it is a last chance for climbers to subvert the final rankings. Liam is a fantastic climber so he should do well here.
“Over the six days, we will ride almost 500km. We all feel ready and excited for the challenge.
“As a team we are training hard. I am riding 10-12 hours a week and I know the others are too and in some cases more.
“We are passionate about cycling and it’s something we want to share with others and encourage people to take up the sport themselves.”
Rhino Velo is sponsored in 2018 by Cooper Green Pooks, Doppio Protection, Beaumont Lawrence, Holohan Coaching and Rhino Velo Pyrenees.