CYCLING legend, Chris Boardman, will take part in the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Caledonia, arguably the UK’s premier closed road sportive, on Sunday 11th May.
Not one to miss out on the action, Boardman will experience pelotons, descents and hill climbing on the infamous ‘Schiehallion’ alongside 5,250 participants when he travels to Pitlochry, Scotland to take part in the 81-mile sportive.
The event, which was the first closed road cycling event in the UK when it launched seven years ago, takes place just eight weeks before the Grand Depart in Yorkshire.
The event will him the opportunity to speak to the enthusiastic spectators and participants, who range from novice to club athletes, that will no doubt help him to catch up with his intended audience.
He said: “Sportives are a fantastic way to enjoy spectacular countryside at whatever pace you choose, that’s what I love about them.
“I already spend several months a year in the Highlands for the incredible vistas and great, cycling-friendly roads, so when I was invited to take part in The Etape Caledonia, the first on fully-closed roads in the UK and in my favourite part of the British Isles, I wasn’t going to say no!
“The Etape Caledonia is now known as one of the best cycling events in the UK and the fact that it has so many participants each year is testament to that.
“With heather-covered mountains and beautiful lochs surrounding us all day as we head into the Highlands, it’s going to be an epic day and I’m really looking forward to it.
“Having ridden the Tour de France and then moved to the ‘other side of the fence’ to commentate, of the two experiences, I have to confess I prefer the slower side!
“It’s also very useful for presenters to continue experiencing first-hand, what they will be talking about and see it from the point of view of the fans that will be watching the race.
“It helps to be able to tailor features and commentary to what they will want to know. Events like this give us that opportunity.”
The established Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Caledonia, now in its eighth year, was the first closed road cycling event in the UK and has been immensely popular in recent years with entries selling out in less than eight hours as over 5,250 riders race to gain their spot on the start line.
James Robinson, managing director at IMG Challenger World, said: “We’re thrilled to have a cycling legend such as Chris among the participants at this year’s event.
“I am personally looking forward to seeing him take part and I’m sure the other cyclists will relish the opportunity to speak with him during the course of the day.”
Marie Curie Cancer Care is the official Charity Partner of the Etape Series. Etape Caledonia and Etape Pennines both encourage participants to raise vital funds, which enable Marie Curie Nurses to provide more free nursing care and support to terminally ill people and their families in communities across the UK.
Marie Curie Cancer Care director of fundraising, Fabian French, said: “Marie Curie Cancer Care is delighted to be the charity partner for the Etape Series for the third time.
“We are grateful to all the riders who conquered the Etape challenges over the last two years and fundraised for us. So far, they have raised a fantastic £860,000, which has helped Marie Curie provide 43,000 hours of free nursing care.
“We hope that in 2014, cyclists taking part in the epic Etape challenges will also raise funds to help us provide even more free care and support to terminally-ill people and their families across the UK.”
Prospective participants for the 2015 Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Caledonia will be able to register their interest immediately following the 2014 event. Those who register will get an exclusive 24-hour window to enter the event when places go on sale later this year and, with general entries selling out in just eight hours this year, those 24 hours could make all the difference to those budding cyclists hoping to take on the 81-mile cycling challenge.
Visit www.etapecaledonia.co.uk to register your interest.
To keep up with all the latest news from the Etape Series, visit www.twitter.com/etapeseries and www.facebook.com/etapeseries
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