Leading from the front

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Zappi Racing Team

BRWM’s mission is all about planning your finances so that you are empowered to enjoy life to the full. 

For many of our clients, that involves getting on a bike and taking to the roads, country lanes, canal towpaths, cycle routes and tracks around the country. 

The BRWM team is no different, which is why we’ve chosen to sponsor an Under 23 racing team run by ex-professional Flavio Zappi.

Flavio Zappi was a prominent sprint cyclist in the early 1980s, riding for the Italian team Hoonved-Bottecchia and competing at the highest level internationally, including the prestigious Giro D’Italia.

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Flavio crosses the finishing line

A new racing generation

Many years after moving to the UK, Flavio was tempted back into the saddle and established Zappi’s Cycling Club and Team Zappi in 2009, both of which were based at his café in the north of Oxford. 

Zappi Racing Team is a development team that focuses on giving young riders the support, training and practice to discover their potential and move up into the bigger pro teams. The team takes part in high level U23 and senior races in Italy, France, Spain, Belgium and central Europe, and several members have moved onto professional racing careers.

Giving up jobs or studies and committing to racing is a big decision for these young riders, and an expensive one, too. The team spends months living and training in Spain and Italy. 

“My riders and their families contribute a lot to the expenses of the team, but without sponsorship, none of it would be possible,” said Flavio. “Living abroad is very expensive.” 

Our sponsorship

BRWM’s sponsorship is specifically helping team member Paul Double from Winchester in his final year in the U23 team

“Paul will be a key member of the team this year,” Flavio explained. “We’re looking for big results in huge races such as the Baby Giro (the U23’s Giro d’Italia) which could help him launch his professional career next year.

“There’s such a deep pool of cycling talent in the UK and I was very disappointed by the lack of opportunities for progression for some of the country’s young cyclists. Having been part of the incredible racing scene in Europe, I was keen to create a team that would give young riders the best chance of making it in the pro ranks.” 

The Zappi U23 team comprises eleven of the most promising young British cyclists, training full time with Flavio. They are currently out in Calpe, Spain training before moving to Italy in mid-March for the race season. “In Italy we will race almost every week,” says Flavio, “and they are arguably the toughest U23 races in the world.”

Paul Double, Zappi Racing Team

Paul Double

A typical day in Spain starts at 8am with a weigh-in, a walk and a nutritious breakfast. Training starts around 10am for between three and seven hours, with Flavio following in the car with food and technical support. A quick ice bath follows, with a light lunch, a relaxing afternoon, dinner and early bedtime. 

What are Flavio’s hopes for his team this year? 

“Firstly I hope for all of my team to progress and improve as riders. I know results will come, but don’t get me wrong, this will not be easy. 

“For Paul, I hope he gets the results I know he is capable of at the biggest races we compete in this season. I will work hard with him to target the races that suit him, so as well as a great climber he can be a good time triallist too. 

“But also I want to add a Plan B from next season for my team, and so I’m talking with education professionals about the possibility of adding online courses the riders can take while they’re in the team.” 

We’re planning to take BRWM clients who are keen riders out to join Flavio and the Zappi Racing Team for a few days while they're in Europe, to participate in practice rides and possibly to help out behind the scenes at races. 

If you’d like to take part, just email richard.wood@brwm.co.uk and we'll get back to you.

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