Event: 7 October 2012
With less than a week to go until the inaugural Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines, excitement is building in Durham for the event which is being tipped as one of the toughest on the British sportive calendar.
The 2,500 riders will be in great sporting company as the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines recently confirmed that, not only is three time Olympic medalist Rob Hayles riding the 78 mile route, but he’ll be joined by former England test cricketer Steve Harmison. After rising to fame playing for Durham County Cricket Club, Steve was selected for England and went on to win the Ashes back in 2005. Chosen as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 2005, he is widely regarded as one of the world's all time best fast bowlers. In fact, Shane Warne named Harmison in his list of 50 greatest cricketers, stating: "on his day, he is one of the most awkward bowlers to face in the world". Now playing for Yorkshire, Steve loves to ride his bike to maintain his fitness levels.
After taking on the gruelling 78 miles of the closed road race, riders will be welcomed at the finish by two local football legends; Steve Harper and Lee Cattermole. Steve Harper is Newcastle United's long serving goalkeeper spending 19 years at the club. Steve enjoys cycling and can usually be seen riding in the quiet lanes of Northumberland as part of his pre- season training. Lee Cattermole who is the captain of Sunderland FC only last week went out on his bike in the local Durham trails to test himself on the gruelling hills around the region.
Local Marie Curie Nurse, Paula Grufferty from County Durham said: “Marie Curie Cancer Care provided over 37,500 hours of free nursing care to terminally ill people across County Durham and North Yorkshire last year, as well as providing vital care at the Marie Curie Hospice, Newcastle.
“As a Marie Curie Nurse, I see first hand the incredible difference this care makes to those who are terminally ill, and their family. If you’re taking part then I’d urge you to raise funds to help the charity to continue to provide these services to people in the North East.”
James Robinson, MD of organisers IMG Challenger World (and a local Newcastle boy himself) is delighted that the first event is just around the corner: “We’ve been working closely with the council and it is a really great feeling to know that the region has got behind this first event which is already set to be one of the leading cycling events in the UK.”
The rolling 78 mile route and promise of breathtaking County Durham countryside has certainly caught the attention of the ever growing cycling community and press, with the UK’s leading cycling magazine ‘Cycling Plus’ recently publishing a preview saying the route is ‘deliciously dramatic’ and ‘marvelously memorable’. The event is set to fill the shoes of its big brother, the Etape Caledonia, which an independent survey found boosted the local area economy by over £1million as a result of the event in just its third year.
To find out more and register your interest in the 2013 event, visit the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines website at www.etapepennines.co.uk.