More than 150 members of the football family will be cycling from London to Amsterdam in support of Prostate Cancer UK – The Football League’s long-term official charity partner.
Representatives from more than 50 clubs will join the peloton at Leyton Orient FC in the early hours of Friday morning with ex-England star Luther Blissett among a host of former players signed up for the exciting 150-mile challenge which hopes to raise £150,000 for the charity.
Aside from a contingent of former players, a plethora of personalities that form the very fabric of clubs, from boardroom to boot room, are also involved, with job titles ranging from sports scientists to scoreboard operators, not to mention a handful of club mascots.
In the Blues line-up, head of commercial Ian Dutton will be joined by commercial sales manager, Shaun Petafi, and commercial sales executive, James Else (all pictured above), as they look to cycle the 190 miles to the Dutch capital in aid of the Football League's official charity partner.
The ‘oranje overhemd’ will be awarded to the top fundraiser when the ride starts at Leyton Orient’s Matchroom Stadium on June 6, but will be worn at the start of the second day by the participant who has raised the most in the preceding 24 hours.
Less than a week before the World Cup kicks off in Brazil, all roads lead to the Netherlands in the ultimate warm-up for the global football extravaganza.
From East London to the heart of Amsterdam, riders will have plenty of time to reflect on their respective team’s campaigns, as well as looking forward to the upcoming feast of samba football.
One in eight men will be affected by prostate cancer and there are 250,000 men living with the disease in the UK, and Blues team captain Ian Dutton said: “I’m delighted to lead our team in this exciting adventure and at the same time raise money and awareness for an amazing cause.
“I’m calling on all Blues supporters to help keep the Orange Jersey in the family by donating via JustGiving
The Grand Depart is in East London early on Friday, 6 June, from Leyton Orient’s Matchroom Stadium, heading out of London through rural English countryside, and stopping off at a second ground, Colchester United’s Weston Homes Community Stadium, for refreshments.
After completing the 90 mile sojourn to Harwich by dusk, the intrepid team cross the Channel overnight, before riding a further 60 miles across the flat landscape of Dutch Zeeland. The climax sees the peloton arrive in the country’s capital and its network of canals, cobbled streets and wonderful architecture.
There will be a chance to wind down and reflect on a notable effort, on Saturday night in the city centre before a less energy-sapping return to London, via Eurostar, after lunch the next day.
Head of Events at Prostate Cancer UK, Andy Sallnow said: “The fact that there are more than 150 riders on the start line represents the incredible progress this event has made over the past 12 months and we are really grateful for all of the football league clubs and fans supporting the event with such enthusiasm.
“Almost 50 different football clubs will be represented on the ride, and we’re really looking forward to convening at Leyton Orient on June 6 for what’s set to be an unforgettable few days.
“Our unique ‘Orange Jersey’ will not only add a splash of colour as we make our way through 150 picturesque miles into The Netherlands, but will also work as a fundraising incentive, worn by the individual who leads the event in sponsorship raised. We look forward to the fans digging deep as those representing their club step on the pedals and raise money to combat a disease that kills one man every hour in the UK.”
Although the deadline for entrants for the 2014 event has passed, to register an interest for next year’s London to Amsterdam cycling challenge go to prostatecanceruk.org/Amsterdam
Meanwhile, to register for Prostate Cancer UK’s regular football newsletter packed full of all the latest Men United news and features by the finest football writers on the web visit prostatecanceruk.org/football
If you have concerns about prostate cancer please call Prostate Cancer UK's confidential Helpline on 0800 074 8383 or visit www.prostatecanceruk.org
. The helpline is free to landlines, staffed by specialist nurses, and open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday with late opening until 8pm on Wednesdays.
You can follow updates from Team BCFC during the London to Amsterdam ride by following @IanDuttonBCFC on Twitter.