Supporters of the O’s are being called upon to help members of their team pick up the coveted Men United Orange Jersey during the London to Amsterdam cycle challenge between June 6-8.
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 joined 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.
Port Vale Manager Micky Adams will also saddle up alongside former Republic of Ireland international striker Alan Lee and ex-Arsenal star Perry Groves, who will lead a contingent from radio station talkSPORT.
Also in the starting line-up are Middlesbrough duo Steve Vickers and Neil Maddison, Simon Milton, from Ipswich Town, Cheltenham Town legend Shane Duff and many more.
Aside from the former professional contingent, 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.
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.
Neil Taylor, Chief Executive of the Leyton Orient Trust will lead the O’s contingent, and by using pedal power to conquer the picturesque 150-mile challenge riders will be helping more men survive prostate cancer and enjoy a better quality of life.
One in eight men will be affected by prostate cancer and there are 250,000 men living with the disease in the UK, and Taylor said: “I’m delighted to lead the O’s in this exciting adventure and at the same time raise money and awareness for an amazing cause.
The Grand Depart was in East London early on Friday, 6 June, from the 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 startline 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.