Veteran cyclist, 77, taking on 3,500km ‘mega challenge’ in Italy for charity

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A 77-year-old cyclist is taking on his biggest challenge yet when he cycles 3,500km along the route of an elite race in Italy on his own.

Mick Ives, of Baginton, will take on the 21 stages this year’s Giro d’Italia route in May. It is considered one of the most prestigious and challenging races in professional cycling alongside the Tour de France.

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He will be raising money for four charities along the way: Barnardos, Rainbow Children’s Hospice, Padraic Sweeney Kidney Research and Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice.

He will have a back-up team helping him with things like accommodation and catering, but all the cycling will be done by Mick with no pacemakers to help him.

Mick said: “It’s a mega challenge, probably the biggest I’ve ever had. I’ve got to pace myself. But I’ll do it.

“I’d like to do it in the same number of days as the Tour but if I have to rest, so be it.

The route of the Giro d'Italia this year

The route of the Giro d'Italia this year

“With reliable backup hopefully it’ll just be a case of me riding my bike.

“I like to do these things for charity, and to do it in my own way is even better. When you go on organised trips, frankly I don’t enjoy them.

“If I can raise some money for these charities I’ll be pleased. It’s good for me, it’s good for the sport and it’s good for the people receiving the money.

Mick is no stranger to tough cycling challenges.

A professional cyclist during the 1960s, Mick has won 81 national cycling championships, eight World Masters Cycling Championships, and competed in the Tour of Switzerland.

He founded his own team, MI Racing, in 1997, which has won hundreds of races since its inception.

And in 2005, Mick cycled the whole route of that year’s Tour de France solo before the race started, raising £20,000 for Cancer Research UK.

Mick will be joined on his challenge by cycling journalist Scot Whitlock, who will be documenting Mick’s effort all the way and will be regularly posting about Mick’s progress on social media.

Scot said: “It’s just amazing. Even if you’re not a cyclist you can relate to it.

“I couldn’t do it, and I cycle every day. I take my hat off to him.

“It’s going to be a difficult challenge, and Mick acknowledges that, but he’s training and cycling every day.”

Mick will fly to Sardinia, the location of the first stage of the race, towards the end of April.