Newmarket and Burwell riders set to make UCI Gran Fondo World Championships debuts this weekend
Two riders from Newmarket and Burwell are set to make their debuts in the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships for the first time this weekend, writes Alex Moss.
Rob Speers, from Newmarket, and Burwell’s Andy Hammond are among a field of more than 2,000 riders, from 59 different countries, competing in the amateur cycling race, which is being held in Varese, Italy.
The duo both qualified via the Tour of Cambridgeshire, in Peterborough back in June, to book their places in the event, which takes place on Sunday.
For Speers, 41, Sunday’s 130km race will be the latest highlight of a memorable 2018, which has seen him complete all 21 stages of the Tour De France as part of a charity challenge with Le Loop.
“I only really picked up cycling six or seven years ago after an injury meant I couldn’t do certain sports,” the Newmarket Cycling & Triathlon Club member said. “I used to play football and rugby, but as part of my rehab I got on a bike and I’ve been cycling ever since.
“To finish in the top 40 or 50 riders (in my 40-44 age group) is the aim, but you do need to be very lucky on the day.”
Hammond, 50, is also making his first appearance in the event and, like Speers, hopes it will be the first of many years competing in the annual race.
“I want to savour the experience and get the most out of it,” he said. “But I also want to do as well as I possibly can.”