A Wetherby man is among six brave Yorkshiremen who have crossed the finish line after cycling from Innsbruck to Harrogate as part of the first ever charity UCI Road World Championships Flag Relay event to carry the world-famous UCI flag into the county.
The riders set off from Innsbruck – the location of the 2018 Championships – just over a week ago and rode through Austria, Germany, Holland and Belgium before returning to the UK at the weekend with the flag.
They completed the gruelling ride with a leg from Hull to Harrogate – the hub of the UCI Road World Championships 2019 – via a reception in Leeds Civic Hall.
Geoffrey Lee from Wetherby, James Goodyear and Dylan Hall from Leeds, Simon Woodward from York, Martin Stoney from Ilkley, Scott Cranmer from Wakefield and David Sanderson from Colchester all tackled the 700 mile, seven-day challenge.
Dylan Hall and Martin Stoney were riding in memory of Dylan’s daughter, Ruby, who passed away in 2016 after being treated on the neonatal ward in Leeds. Geoffrey Lee was the oldest member of the team at 72.
The flag relay is all in aid of charity Leeds Cares, the official fundraising partner of the UCI Road World Championships, who are fundraising for major new projects at Leeds Teaching Hospitals to benefit people from across Yorkshire.
Geoffrey Lee said: “Over the years my family has great help from the Leeds hospitals and fundraising is an opportunity to help them in return. It is amazing to see the changes at Jimmy’s since my first visit.”
Projects include a support programme for families of neonatal babies, a new exercise and rehab programme for major trauma patients and the purchase of a world-class rehabilitation machine - the BTE primus - for patients suffering from complex limb disorders.
James Goodyear said: “As a staff member at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, I see how Leeds Cares provides fantastic support to patients and staff, so it was important for me to support them and enable to work that they do.
“It’s incredibly affecting hearing stories such as Dylan’s. Knowing that staff in the hospital – with support from Leeds Cares – will be able to help people in their times of greatest need was a great motivating factor to dig deep and keep going throughout the challenge.”
Dylan Hall said: “I was a little nervous beforehand and would have liked to have done a little more training, but my legs got me through and over the line. Leeds Teaching Hospitals have done so much for my family and I over the years; looking after my daughter, brother and nephews. Fundraising for Leeds Cares is hugely important to us all, but to be part of something historic like this with the UCI and Leeds Cares involved is amazing.”
Leeds Cares donates around £14 million every year to support all the departments at Leeds Teaching Hospitals – from the Children’s Hospital to the Cancer Centre. As the fundraising partner of the 2019 UCI Road World Championships, the charity is hoping to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds from the event towards new projects across the hospitals to further help people from Yorkshire and beyond.
People can donate via the official event fundraising website at www.justgiving.com/campaign/innsbruckflagrelay
The eight-day 2019 UCI Road World Championships from September 22 to 29 will see some of the world’s best cyclists travel to Yorkshire for men’s and women’s races, across age groups from Junior to Elite. Every day will see a start in different towns and cities throughout Yorkshire, with each finishing in the main competition town of Harrogate.