It’s not every day you get the opportunity to ride with a cycling legend, but that’s exactly what organisers of the new Mario Cipollini Gran Fondo are promising.
Based at Bristol’s Redwood Country Club, the event kicks off with a pre-ride gala dinner on 21 April, where guests will have a three-course meal followed by an interview with the Italian sprint legend and a to-be-confirmed after-dinner speaker. The supper costs £40 and is also open to those who aren’t taking part in the ride.
The following morning sees the 115km (1,650m elevation) ride roll out, taking in some of the region’s iconic climbs like Cheddar Gorge and Burrington Combe. With the field limited to just 200 and a £100 entry fee, the ride will have a more exclusive feel than many sportives and will allow the former world champion to jump from group to group and chat to riders.
Organisers say all the money from entry fees will be put back into the event. There will be two feed stations and instead of the usual array of bananas and gels, these will offer sandwiches, homemade cakes, fresh coffee and tea, as well as a buffet lunch at the second stop.
The mechanical services will be a cut above, too, with motorbikes carrying spare wheels and a Cipollini team car with spare bikes. A broom wagon will also be on hand to sweep up anyone who struggles to get round the course. At the finish line, you’ll be given a Cipollini jersey, with massages and changing facilities available at Redwood. For more information and to register, visit the event website.