Hundreds of cyclists across the UK have ridden out from Jaguar dealerships this summer in a bid to win a place at a spring training camp on Mallorca with Team Sky.
The luxury car brand’s “Ride Like a Pro” competition saw pelotons led out by Sky-liveried XF Sportbrake cars to record times on a local Strava segment on rides organised in partnership with local bike shops.
‘Winners’ will be chosen at random to take part in a Grand Final to be held later this year: a day of driving and cycling activities from which the top scoring male and female competitors will win four days of training in the Balearics with Britain’s only WorldTour team.
More than 30 Jaguar dealerships across the UK are holding Ride Like a Pro events. Westover Jaguar in Poole, Dorset, is among those participating, and today hosted a ride-out led by local bike shop, Ride.
More than 50 riders set off from the dealership, located opposite the yard of motor yacht builder, Sunseeker, to ride through the Dorset countryside.
Owner, Ritchie Hilton-Foster, said the ride-outs gave businesses like his own a chance to work in partnership with Jaguar to offer an experience that their online competitors might struggle to match.
“This is why we all do this,” he said of the event. “We are directly involved with the sport, and we have the passion to ride the bike. Why wouldn’t we want to ride with our friends?”
Hilton-Foster and his team riders, which included multiple British cross country mountain bike champion, Mark Chadbourne, split the group into two after three miles, allowing the more experienced riders to take in a 30-mile course, while riders new to the sport rode 20 miles.
Both groups tackled a 1.9 mile climb with a peak gradient of 11.1 per cent on the return leg, recording times on a Strava segment marked by Ride, before returning to the Westover dealership in two groups.
Team Sky’s distinctive livery made the car the centre of attention. The WorldTour team used a heavily modified F-TYPE Coupé as a support car for the individual time trial from Bergerac to Périgueux on stage 20 of last month’s Tour de France.
Hilton-Foster said Jaguar’s involvement with Team Sky had given a further boost to cycling’s popularity, and had helped to redress the negative stereotype of hostility between cyclists and motorists relentlessly reinforced by mainstream media.
“Jaguar clearly has the modern cyclist in its plans,” he said. “They have a very a desirable range of cars, and they’re input into Team Sky has helped to give the sport a cooler image.”
The date of the Grand Final of the Ride Like a Pro competition has yet to be confirmed, but is expected to be held next month or in October.