Team News: Holohan Fastest Brit in Etape du Tour

Shropshire’s Liam Holohan was the fastest British rider to complete this year’s ‘Etape du Tour’ on the route of one of the stages for this year’s Tour de France

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Team News: Holohan Fastest Brit in Etape du Tour

A Shropshire cyclist was the fastest British rider to complete this year’s ‘Etape du Tour,’ a mass participation event following the route of one of the stages for this year’s Tour de France.

Liam Holohan, a former elite cyclist, took part in the event with Shropshire based amateur cycling team Rhino Velo Race Team, run by Shropshire business men Chris Pook, of Estate Agents Cooper Green Pooks, and Ben Lawrence, of Beaumont Lawrence Chartered Insurance Brokers.

Liam, who previously rode for UCI teams ‘Team Wiggins’ and ‘Madison Genesis,’ was aiming to become the first Britain to win the race but ultimately finished in eighth.
He said he was thrilled with his result as the fastest British rider in the race. He said: “Taking part in the Etape du Tour is something I have wanted to do for a while. The race definitely suited my abilities as a climber and I’m proud of coming eighth.”
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Since 1993, amateurs have had the chance to tackle one of the stages of the famous three week race, which this year takes place from July 7 to July 29. The Etape du Tour took place in the French Alps between Annecy and Le Grand Bornand on Sunday July 8. About 12,500 amateur cyclists were able to enjoy completely closed roads, tackling 100 miles of breathtaking scenery, over 4,000m of climbing, five mountain passes with gradients of 10-12 per cent and in 30 degrees centigrade heat.

Liam, who runs a coaching business Holohan Coaching, was five minutes down on the winner Victor Lafay, the U23 French road race champion who starts with professional team ‘Cofidis’ in August. Matt Davies, 35, of Minsterley, Matt Garthwaite, 32, of Newport, and Chris Pook, 35, of Shrewsbury, all finished in the top one per cent overall within a few minutes of each other in 70, 76 and 125 respectively.

Tom Pook, 30, of Shrewsbury, finished a creditable 311, whilst Barrie, of Hanwood, who recently celebrated his 40th birthday, did a super ride to finish 771.  Mr Pook said: “It was fantastic to race in the Alps and it was fun to follow the route the professionals follow in the Tour de France. “The atmosphere was fantastic and there were definitely some big climbs.
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“Liam rode really strong but was just beaten by a better guy. He made a tactical error on the second climb by not going with the front guys as he thought it would come back together on the long valley transition before the final two climbs, but it did not.  In these kind of events, you have to race them from the front and if riders are strong enough to join you so be it but the climbs are so selective it usually breaks up naturally.”

During the event, cyclists climbed the Col de la Croix-Fry before embarking on a 7km climb to the Plateau des Glières at an average gradient of 11 per cent.  They then rode up to the Col de Romme, the Col de la Colombière, the latter perched at 1,613 metres above sea level.  The total elevation gain for the day was more than 4,000 metres and after 170km the event finished with a final downhill to Le Grand-Bornand.

Mr Lawrence, who also sponsors the team with Cooper Green Pooks, Doppio Protection and Holohan Coaching, said the Rhino Velo Race Team has been going from strength to strength with every race of the season. He said: “We are really proud of how well Liam did. We now have a week of training in the Alps with Liam coaching the team. This extra effort will hopefully see the team finish the season in an extremely strong position.

“It was a really great trip with lots of positive feedback from our riders who had not taken part in this type of event before.” The next big event for the team is the Haute Route in August – a multi-day race across Switzerland and France.


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