The British Alpine Ski Team and coaching staff will be hoping that the snow and ice are as far away as possible as they take on a sporting challenge of a different kind on 16 May – the Macmillan Cancer Support Etape Caledonia cycle challenge.
The team of 11 will be in the saddle for the UK’s largest closed cycle race over an 81 mile course through the rugged and challenging terrain of Highland Perthshire, Scotland.
Olympians Andy Noble, Dave Ryding, Noel Baxter and Finlay Mickel will be on the starting line of the event after returning from a successful season on skis competing at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. They are all determined to meet this challenge and achieve a great result for Macmillan Cancer Support.
The now retired Finlay Mickel, who took part in the 2009 event, commented on this year’s challenge: “I can’t wait to race this year. Training so far has been good. My 96kg weight isn’t the best for riding uphill but I’m looking forward to smashing past people on the downhill sections.”
“Macmillan Cancer Support is a great cause and one I’m delighted we are supporting. My Mum and Dad have both had cancer; thankfully they were both able to get through it. The more we can do to raise funds and awareness the better it is for everyone.”
Team mate Noel Baxter said: “I’m very excited to be taking part in the race this year again. The race is at a perfect time for us to kick start our summer training block. It can be quite hard to motivate yourself after a long season so the race is perfect to give us that extra motivation to get into our summer training.
“I’m really pleased we are riding for Macmillan Cancer Support, it is a great charity. My family has been affected by cancer so anything we can do to help raise awareness and funds for Macmillan is great.”
Mike Pilarski, coach for Team GB said: “Now the Olympics are over, the team will continue to train on and off the slopes over the next few months. They were really keen to take part in this event, as it sets a different type of challenge for them, but also helps to raise money for a really fantastic charity that will help to support people with cancer across the UK. We are delighted that so many of our top athletes are able to come together to take part and we hope that they can raise some cash for a very good cause.”
Tris Jones, Biking Events Coordinator for Macmillan, said: “We are delighted that so many from the British Alpine Ski Team are taking part in the Macmillan Cancer Support Etape Caledonia. All of the money they raise will be used to fund our vital cancer services, ensuring we help the two million people in the UK who are currently affected by cancer.”
The event starts and finishes in Pitlochry, with host of attractions for spectators as well as riders.
Jo Dytch, IMG, said: “Etape Caledonia is looking forward to the spectacle of 4,500 cyclists enjoying the experience of cycling on closed roads and being able to enjoy the fantastic scenery of Highland Perthshire. It’s destined to be a breathtaking experience for both the competitors and spectators.”
Etape Caledonia has firm support from Event Scotland and Perth and Kinross Council, attracting top sponsors such as Macmillan Cancer Support, Highland Spring, Adidas, Zipvit, The Times, Cycling Weekly, Perthshire, and Event Scotland.
For more information on the Macmillan Cancer Support Etape Caledonia visit www.etapecaledonia.co.uk.