Date: 
Wednesday, March 7, 2018 - 11:30

Top Cornish professional cyclist Chris Opie is championing the Eden Classic – the mass participation ride which takes place on his favourite roads in the world.

Chris’s career so far has led him to many far-flung places including the Arctic Circle, the Saharan Desert and the Australian Outback.

But he says that for him,  there is nothing to beat the ups and downs of Cornwall’s winding country roads, especially those on and around the Roseland Peninsula, not far from where he grew up on a dairy farm on the outskirts of Truro.

The 30-year-old road rider, who leads the British continental team Canyon-Eisberg, took a spin down memory lane when he had a close look at the routes of the Eden Classic.

Cornwall’s biggest bike event starts and finishes at the Eden Project near St Austell, taking in many miles of lanes where Chris was first bitten by the cycling bug as a young boy out for rides with his father.

He began cycling competitively at the age of 10 and rapidly progressed to lead the British National Junior Series in 2005. Many professional successes have followed.

The Eden Project was thrilled when Chris agreed to champion its sportive in advance of the annual event returning for the fourth time on May 13, 2018, and even more pleased when he said he is going to try his best to fit participation into his hectic schedule.

It is not so much that the short (35 miles), mid (62 miles) and long (100 miles) routes are that big a challenge for a super-fit competitor whose regular training rides across Cornwall are well in excess of 100 miles.

It is more that Chris loves the idea of a mass ride taking place on his home patch, encouraging yet more people to get on the road and enjoy the many benefits of being on two wheels.

On a bright sunny morning Chris pulled on a newly-issued Eden Classic cycling jersey and had a gentle pedal around the paths and hairpins in the shadow of the famous Biomes.

He said: “When I was a young boy my dad first took me out on a long cycle on the Roseland. Cycling proved to be the one thing I was good at and became my career.

“I’ve loved cycling these roads ever since and they have been the making of me as someone who now earns his living riding a bike.”

He added:  “The Eden Classic sportive is a great way for riders to team up with others and challenge themselves.  Having a range of rides means that cyclists of different levels of fitness and experience can take part. The hills are a test for anyone. And you can’t really better the amazing scenery, can you?”

Eden’s Chief Executive Gordon Seabright said: “It is great to have Chris’s support for the Eden Classic, especially as the route means so much to him. He’s an inspiration for all the cyclists who plan to come and join us on Sunday May 13.”

Chris has had many successes as a pro. Two seasons with ONE Pro Cycling culminated in Ronde van Midden Nederland glory on August 28, 2016. His triumph in the two-day stage race followed up second spot in the Arnhem-Veenendaal Classic.

Earlier in that campaign, Chris was second in the points classification in the Tour de Korea after clinching one stage win, a second, a third and four further top-10 finishes in the eight-day battle.

His first big success came in 2010, when he took two stages and a second place in the Tour of Libya. He followed that up two days later with glory in the Grand Prix Of Al Fatah.

To find out more about the Eden Classic and to sign up for one of the routes go to http://www.edenproject.com/visit/whats-on/eden-classic-sportive-cycling-....

A video of Chris Opie cycling at the Eden Project is available at https://youtu.be/uIzRsnFFB6U.

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