THE British Alpine Ski Team has announced they will be kicking off their ski boots and hopping on their bikes on 15th May to raise money for charity at the IMG Challenger World event, Macmillan Cancer Support Etape Caledonia, in Pitlochry.
The event, which forms part of their training for the 2012 world cup season sees them return to Britain after prolonged training in the Alps post season, putting in a considerable number of cycling miles on smooth Austrian roads.
Leading the team this year is Etape Caledonia runner up from 2010, Dave Ryding, who has set his sights on the top place this year.
Dave has just enjoyed his most successful European Cup season to date, with two, top ten finishes in slalom putting him firmly on track for the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi 2014.
This year he’ll compete without fellow cycling enthusiast, Noel Baxter, who is recovering from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament he sustained during a national championship competition towards the end of the season.
Dave will, however, be accompanied by fellow athletes, staff supporters and parents in what has become a firmly fixed date on the ski team’s calendar.
Dave Ryding commented: “Etape Caledonia is a great way to end one season and kick start physical conditioning for the next. I’ve set my sights on first place this year. Let’s hope I can deliver.”
Top skier, Alain Baxter, will also be joining Dave in his quest for the top. He commented: “I went through a period of focussing on track cycling, but now I’m glad to be hitting the open roads again and taking on this cycling challenge. Dave had better watch out!”
The team are not resting on their laurels, aware that there is stiff competition from many good cyclists including amateur club cyclist, Veli-Matti Raikonnen, who has come in with the fastest time three years on the trot.
Fitness coach, Tristan Glasse-Davies, has been putting the whole team through their paces. He commented: “I am keen to see the team show their best form and have led by example by dropping five kilograms over the winter months in order to lead from the front. If I can lead by example and instil good habits towards conditioning, then I’ll also get the best out of the athletes.”
Tris Jones, biking events coordinator for Macmillan, said: “We are really delighted that the British Alpine Ski Team consider the Macmillan Cancer Support Etape Caledonia to be such a significant part of their ongoing training programme and go out of their way to raise money for the charity in doing so.
“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 a whole host of attractions for spectators as well as riders.
Amy Whiteley, IMG Challenger World, said: “Etape Caledonia is looking forward to the spectacle of 5,000 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 participants and spectators.”
For more information on the Macmillan Cancer Support Etape Caledonia visit www.etapecaledonia.co.uk.
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