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Report: Colomba Chemo Classic Sportive

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Pros Turn out in Force for the Colomba Chemo Classic

Posted: 19th Sept 2009 | Report: Kate Knibbs | Event Website

Anticlockwise from bottom left: Adam Blythe, Ben Swift, Geraint Thomas, Alex Dowsett and Ian Stannard.
It isn't everyday that the rugged terrain of the Yorkshire Dales plays host to five professional cyclists, but this was precisely the scenario last Saturday 14th November when the pros turned up to show their support for the first ever run of the Colomba Chemo Classic, a new cycling sportive set up in aid of Cancer Research UK.

The event is the brainchild of Rob Knibbs, who, following his diagnosis of Hodgkin's Lymphoma in autumn 2008 wanted to set up an event that would simultaneously raise money in aid of others fighting cancer as well as promote the healthy living values that saw him through his own treatment. Now in remission and back on the saddle, Rob made his vision a reality as he launched the event on Saturday with the help of Stuart Watson and Chris Atkinson of Colomba Cycling Club. Thus the Colomba Chemo Classic was born.

Rob enlisted the support of some of the best young pros in British cycling, including Ben Swift, who took 3rd place in the 2nd stage of the Giro D'Italia, and team pursuit Olympic gold medallist, Geraint Thomas. High performers Alex Dowsett, Ian Stannard and Adam Blythe also got on board. The opportunity to ride in an event with the pros, plus some challenging terrain, attracted riders from across the country. The route started in Richmond, passing through Leyburn and Kettlewell before heading back through Cray and Aysgarth to Richmond. Whilst some riders took a more leisurely approach, there were the usual competitive contingents who couldn't resist the opportunity to clock in a respectable time. Craig Hutchinson recorded the fastest time over 65 miles of 4:01:45. Even the pros couldn't resist comparing average speeds over their tomato soup at the feed station.

As well as providing some end of season fun, this ride has raised thousands of pounds for Cancer Research UK. One young rider from Wetherby, inspired by both his siblings' battles against cancer raised over £450 in sponsorship alone. "What a cracking end to the season", commented one rider. "The most friendly sportive I have done." remarked another. An outright success this year, with over 150 riders taking part, this will be an annual event on the cycling calendar that continues to raise money for charities that support cancer sufferers.