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Ross riding with Lance Armstrong

Blog by | October 4th, 2007

Cycling star to tour B.C. this weekend

Don Harrison, The Province

Published: Friday, September 21, 2007

Lance Armstrong overcame testicular cancer to win the Tour de France an astonishing seven consecutive times.

Now the retired American cycling legend will lend his name to rides in B.C. this weekend, in a race against time to help people with blood cancers.

Armstrong will visit Kelowna tomorrow and Vancouver on Sunday for celebrity-filled rides as part of the B.C. Cancer Foundation's Tour of Courage fundraiser.

One of the event's key organizers is Kelowna MLA and leukemia survivor Sindi Hawkins. Nearly 1,000 British Columbians are diagnosed annually with blood cancer.

"Lance Armstrong is a huge hero to most of us who do this [cancer] business and to the patients we look after," said Dr. Clay Smith, a senior scientist at the B.C. Cancer Agency and head of B.C.'s bone-marrow transplant program. "It reminds you there is life ahead of you" when working or living with cancer.

Starting on Kelowna Mountain at 10 a.m., Armstrong's fellow riders will include Olympic cycling medalists Axel Merckx, son of cycling icon Eddy Merckx, Canadian Steve Bauer and Olympic snowboarder Ross Rebagliati of Kelowna.

The group will pedal a "scenic route" of 80 kilometres through south Kelowna.

In Vancouver, Armstrong and friends will be at the University of B.C. The Community Ride will begin at 10:30 a.m. and be either 30, 60 or 90 kilometres. Riders will start and end at Thunderbird Stadium after taking in the sights in Pacific Spirit Regional Park and the University Endowment Lands.

There will also be a family entertainment festival from noon to 4 p.m. at the stadium.

- Riders can register for Sunday's event by visiting www.tourofcourage.ca or calling 604-696-BIKE.