British National Champion and Rio Olympian, Grant Ferguson, will be back in Cyprus next month for a third consecutive year and is looking to make his mark on the Cyprus Sunshine Cup General Classification.
Along with his Brentjens Mountainbike Racing Team, Grant has chosen to race in Cyprus for much more than just the UCI points. “It is a nice atmosphere to race in Cyprus and there is plenty of good cycling and nice weather”, he says.
Coming from the depths of a Scottish winter, the warm sun and dry tracks are a real treat! Indeed, many teams choose to stay for days before and after the racing to make the most of the climate and the fantastic network of fun tracks and quiet roads. It is a perfect early season training camp destination, with the chance for World-Class racing as well.
Besides fond memories from the race itself - particularly his victory on Stage 1 of the Afxentia Stage Race in 2015 - Grant says he has also enjoyed some time at the beach and a nice dip in the sea in between the racing. Cyprus has a lovely relaxed vibe during February and March, with stunning seaside towns and mountain villages that are yet to get busy with tourists. Many riders use their time on the island to catch up with friends they have not seen since the end of the last season and share a ride and a coffee. The atmosphere really is unique; full gas Elite racing but without the intense pressure of the World Cups.
A lot of great single-track
For this reason, the Cyprus Sunshine Cup is a fantastic event for amateur riders to get involved in as well. It is a great opportunity to line up alongside some of the World’s best riders, but in a relaxed and fun environment where everyone is happy to chat and keen to have a laugh as well as get some good racing miles under the belt and some UCI points in the bag. Grant points out, “there is a lot of great single-track and sunny weather which are really great reasons for an amateur to visit Cyprus to ride, train or race the Sunshine Cup. There are also plenty of road loops and nice climbs if they wanted to take a road bike as well.”
Last year Grant raced to second place in the Stage 1 Time Trial and third on Stage 2, however he dropped time in the final two stages and finished fifteenth overall. This year he hopes for better consistency and a higher overall position after the four days of racing. We have seen him in the leader’s yellow jersey before, and of course he would love to wear it again. At only 23 years old, Grant Ferguson has many years of success to come in Cyprus. Watch this space!