Cyclists brave conditions during 2019 Tour de Cure ride

GOOD CAUSE: Tour de Cure Co-Founder Geoff Coombes and AFL legend Tony Lockett after arriving in Daylesford. Photo: Adam Trafford
GOOD CAUSE: Tour de Cure Co-Founder Geoff Coombes and AFL legend Tony Lockett after arriving in Daylesford. Photo: Adam Trafford

MORE THAN 200 cyclists have braved the elements to take part in the 2019 signature Tour de Cure ride to raise funds towards finding a cure for cancer.

The 1400-kilometre ride has seen participants pedalling from Sydney to Kiama, up to Goulburn, through Canberra and over the Snowy Mountains.

But on Friday, in just the second time in the event's 13 year history, organisers were forced to pull the pin and put cyclists on buses for the remainder of the stage due to dangerous weather conditions on the penultimate stage of the nine day ride.

Tour de Cure co-founder Geoff Coombes said cyclists had completed just over half of the 198-kilometre stage from Shepparton to Hepburn Springs when the weather proved to be too treacherous.

"We've had a number of tours that have been really challenging and this is definitely one of them, if not the hardest," he said. "It's the challenge of it all that is the reason our supporters get behind us. When you're riding in this part of the country you have to deal with the conditions. We always say that a kid doesn't get to choose when they go for chemo so we just have to ride our bikes."

But he said today they were forced to make the decision so everybody could arrive safely.

Mr Coombes said many new cyclists had joined the ride this year, but about 30 per cent of participants were back for more than their fifth tour, with three cyclists having participated in all 13.

The group of cyclists ranges from teachers to athletes, CEOs and tradespeople and each individual approaches the tour and their personal fundraising goal of $12,000 differently.

"Some people do trivia nights and barbeques and for others it's an email to a mate. But when we're on tour we are all equal," he said.

Ballarat export and AFL great Tony Lockett said he chose to participate in the ride because it is a "great cause".

"If we can all do a little bit it will go a long way to hopefully finding a cure," he said.

RIDING FOR A CURE: AFL Hall of Fame's Tony Lockett. Photo: Adam Trafford

RIDING FOR A CURE: AFL Hall of Fame's Tony Lockett. Photo: Adam Trafford

Mr Lockett said he had been training for three months in preparation for the average 150-kilometres per day he has spent on his bike each day during the tour.

"I love riding. It's good to get out and get a bit of fresh air in the lungs."

He said it had been a hard ride but he had coped better than he thought he would.

The tour visits schools throughout the journey in an effort to raise awareness that one in three cancers is preventable by highlighting that children can reduce their risk of cancer by making healthy choices.

Every time the tour rides into a community it donates $10,000 to a local charity. It has donated 1.7 million in local grants in its time and this year donated $10,000 to the Alyonah Otis Foundation Breast Cancer retreat in Daylesford.

The fundraising goal of this year's tour is $2.5 million and will be put towards cancer research and prevention projects, with the organisation aiming to raise more than $10 million for Tour de Cure through various fundraising initiatives in 2019.

In its 13 years, Tour de Cure has raised almost $50 million for cancer research and hopes to reach the milestone of $60 million by 2020.

The group will complete the final 152-kilometres of the ride, departing from Daylesford and stopping in Buninyong for lunch before continuing on to Geelong on May 11.

This story Cyclists brave conditions on tour for cancer cure first appeared on The Courier.