Sports journalist and former professional cyclist Paul Kimmage will be saying ‘Ciao!’ to Italy this summer as he gets in the saddle to support the Irish Hospice Foundation’s 10th Cycle Challenge.
Kimmage will be pulling on his jersey and retracing some of the miles he covered in the iconic Giro d’Italia he raced as a professional on the Genoa to Rome cycle. Registration for the event closes on March 13th.
The Kingspan sponsored cycle, which has raised €1.3m for the IHF since it started in 2009, will take place from June 21st to 27th with a stunning Italian backdrop.
Beginning at the coast, cyclists will challenge themselves to cycle 600km in five days, wheeling from Genoa to Rome and taking in famous Tuscany landscapes, medieval villages and breath-taking coastal views.
En route cyclists will have the chance to tackle the climb at Mount Serra – which was twice featured in the Giro, and a legendary training climb for many pro riders.
Sunday Independent journalist Paul Kimmage, who launched the cycle today, (Monday, January 12th), said: “I’m looking forward to getting on my bike for the 2015 Kingspan IHF Genoa to Rome Cycle Challenge. As well as being a vital fundraiser for the important work of the Irish Hospice Foundation, the cycle routes planned are fantastic and I would encourage cyclists of all abilities to consider getting on their bike for this worthy fundraiser.”
“There is not a family in Ireland that is not touched by death and most have had experience of the care and dedication of staff working with the hospice services.”
As in previous years the cycle will offer two routes on some of the days, allowing stronger cyclists tackle some extra “Giro” climbs.
In the past all ages have completed the cycle – from twenty-year-olds, right up to male and female cyclists in their seventies. Couples, siblings, colleagues, friends and cyclists of all abilities have all come along for the adventure.
Since the cycle challenge began in 2009, €1.3 has been raised to support the work of the IHF. This year the money raised will support the Nurses for Night Care Service, which provides over 1,400 nights of free nursing care at home annually to people with a non-malignant terminal illness.
Sharon Foley, CEO of the IHF, commented: ‘We are absolutely thrilled that Paul Kimmage is supporting our cycle this year. He is a sportsman who holds the admiration of the Irish people for the true grit he has displayed on and off the cycling track.
“The Cycle is a crucial fundraiser and with demand growing we estimate that it will cost €500,000 to run our Nurses for Nightcare Programme in 2015. This service is vital for patients and families and allows them to fulfil their wish of dying at home with dignity.
“By getting ‘on your bike’ people can make a real difference to end of life care in Ireland. I’d like to say thank you to our sponsors Kingspan for their continued support and to all the cyclists that have fundraised so hard for us in the past. We look forward to welcoming some new and also familiar faces to our Italian cycle this year.”
Participants on the Genoa to Rome Cycle Challenge have a fundraising target of €2,990. There is a special offer for teams of four signing up of a reduced fundraising target of €2,740 per person.
A full training guide is provided and the team in Cycling Safaris are available to advise and help those thinking of taking on the challenge and those signed up for the cycle.
For more information on registration and the cycle see www.hospicefoundation.ie