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Local gears up for cycling challenge

12:30 12 June 2014

Hockey player Stuart Mol is taking on the Saxon Classic cycling challenge

Hockey player Stuart Mol is taking on the Saxon Classic cycling challenge

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Hockey player raising awareness for Prostate Cancer UK

The last time Stuart Mol took on a sporting challenge in Ipswich he was on the wrong end of a hockey horror show.

The versatile Crostyx player and his team suffered an 11-1 defeat against Ipswich in the team’s first away game of last season’s East Men’s Hockey League Premier B campaign last September and a disappointing year would eventually end in relegation.

Now the 34-year-old from Woodford is shaping up for some pain of a different kind as he returns to Suffolk to raise awareness and money for Prostate Cancer UK.

Centre-back Mol will pedal an energy-sapping 160km to help the charity raise awareness of a disease that kills one man every hour.

The keen cyclist works as Programme Manager for the charity and has selected the longest of the three distances on offer at the inaugural Saxon Classic, which starts and finishes in Ipswich’s Christchurch Park on Sunday, June 22.

Around 200 riders, including workmate Gemma Borwick, fresh from representing the charity in the London Marathon, will join him on the startline with 50km and 100km routes also on the agenda.

And the event, launched after the success of a similar ride, the East Devon-based Jurassic Classic, will help fund research into causes and treatments, and provide support and information to those affected by the disease.

“Prostate Cancer UK is a great and inspirational place to work and given I’m a keen cyclist it will be great to test myself in this exciting new event,” said Stuart.

“Working here, it’s impossible to ignore the implications of prostate cancer but as a charity we are facing these issues head on and trying to affect change and a better deal for men.

“It’s great to be able to do my bit to beat the drum and raise awareness of a disease that affects one in eight men in the UK.”

Although the hockey season ended in disappointment last time as Crostyx dropped into the East League’s third tier, Mol and his teammates are back in training ahead of the new campaign – and cycling has formed a big part of his summer sharpening.

He has regularly pedalled into the Essex countryside and looped back via Stansted at weekends and has made the eight-mile journey from East London to London Bridge by bike on several occasions in a bid to prepare for the arduous event that will see him head to the Suffolk coast and also includes up to 1,600m of climbing.

“A couple of guys in the office have previously done the Jurassic Classic and it’s a really enjoyable day which has earned acclaim as one of the must-do events in the South West and it raised almost £100,000 last year,” added Stuart who tackled the undulating Wiggle Dragon Ride in Port Talbot, Wales on June 8th as a final tune-up.

“I did the Dragon Ride last year as well, and it’s a fair test of endurance but really rewarding too, and I’ll be trying to persuade some friends to join me at the Jurassic Classic later this year. I also took part in the Etape du Tour last July, replicating the 20th stage of the 2013 Tour de France from Annecy to Le Semnoz which culminated in an uphill 11km ride to the summit.

“I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into the Suffolk terrain and suspect the return to Ipswich will be a bit more enjoyable this time round.”

Mark Bishop, Director of Fundraising at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “We’re thrilled that Stuart has decided to take on the first ever Saxon Classic to raise funds for Prostate Cancer UK. It is with support like this that we can help provide dedicated support and information to men and their families affected by prostate cancer and fund research to help fight the disease.

“With over 40,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in the UK and one man dying every hour, it is our aim to help more men survive the disease and enjoy a better quality of life. We wish Stuart every success with his bike challenge.”

For more information go to prostatecanceruk.org/cycling or to seal your spot on a Classic Series event visit saxonclassic.org.uk or jurassicclassic.org.uk.

Alternatively, contact a member of the team on 020 3310 7034 or email cycling@prostatecanceruk.org.

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