A former elite cyclist, who now rides for a Shropshire based amateur cycling team with links to Whitchurch and Oswestry, is aiming to become the first British person to win the ‘Etape du Tour’, a mass participation event that follows the route of one of the stages for this year’s Tour de France.

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 7-29.

The Etape du Tour will take place in the French Alps between Annecy and Le Grand Bornand on Sunday July 8.

Liam Holohan, who previously rode for UCI teams ‘Team Wiggins’ and ‘Madison Genesis,’ now rides for Rhino Velo Race Team.

Liam said: “Since retiring from being a pro cyclist, I have focused on my coaching business, Holohan Coaching, and helping other riders achieve their goals.

“Chris Pook and Ben Lawrence approached me about leading a training camp in the Alps as I used to train there at altitude before the Tour of Britain every year.

"It was agreed to combine it with a tilt at winning the Etape, as no Brit has so far managed to do so and it should suit my characteristics as a climber.’’

Mr Pook, who is also taking part said: “I have been looking forward to the Etape du Tour all season as I am excited to ride my bike the Alps and it will be fun to follow the route that the pros will take a few days later.

“I have had a pretty good season so far, so hope to put out a good performance and finish in the top few percent of riders.”

During the event, cyclists will climb 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.

There will then be a hard ride up to the Col de Romme, then the Col de la Colombière, the latter perched at 1,613 metres above sea level.

The total elevation gain for the day is more than 4,000 metres and after 170km the event finishes with a final downhill to Le Grand-Bornand.

Liam, 30, will be joined on the trip by fellow Rhino Velo Race Team members Barrie Pugh, 39, of Hanwood, Tom Pook, 30, of Shrewsbury, Matthew Davies, 35, of Minsterley, Matthew Garthwaite, 32 of Newport, and Chris Pook, 35, of Shrewsbury.