Trevor Linden and Ross Rebagliati lead star-studded bike ride for cancer research
Vancouver Canucks mainstay hits the streets for charity
Published: Thursday, May 01, 2008VANCOUVER - Trevor Linden is not riding into the sunset, he’s riding for cancer research.
The Vancouver Canuck icon will be joining Olympic snowboarding gold medallist Ross Rebagliati and Tour de France veteran Axel Merckx in a huge cycling fund-raiser June 1 on Vancouver’s west side.
Outside the BC Cancer Agency's research center today were sports stars; Axel Merckx (2nd from right), Ross Rebagliati (left), Trevor Linden (2nd from left), Cancer survivor Andrew Gregory (right), and cancer survivor MLA Sindi Hawkins (middle).
“I’ve seen the difference cancer research has made,” Linden said Thursday during a pep rally outside the B.C. Cancer Agency’s Research Centre to promote the Westside Cycling Classic.
“We all know and are touched by this disease so it’s pretty easy to get involved. I think this is an excellent opportunity to come out for a great cause and have some fun.”
Linden and his fellow celebrity riders — former Canadian Olympic cyclist Alex Stieda is also in the group — will be on hand for the 36-kilometre ride through Vancouver streets and the UBC endowment lands. The afternoon fund-raiser begins at 2 p.m. and will complete a full riding day that includes six competitive races beginning at 7:30 a.m.
“For me, this is a good fit,” Linden explained. “I love to cycle and it’s for a great cause. I won’t be riding for anyone in particular but I do have numerous young people I stay in contact with that I’ve met through Children’s Hospital. That’s my biggest motivation.
“I think we’ve all seen the proof of the research that’s being done and the help we’re giving the foundation in saving lives. The difference it’s making is huge.”
A similar event last year, the Tour of Courage with cancer survivor and seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, raised more than $1.8 million. Individual participants in this year’s Westside Classic are asked to raise a minimum of $300 as their ticket to ride. A course map and registration details can be found online at: www.cycleforcancer.com.
For those more into cycling than hockey, Alex Merckx’s name is a familiar one. His father, Eddy, won the Tour de France five times. Axel has finished eight Tours himself and captured one stage. He also collected an Olympic bronze medal in the 2004 Games while competing for his native Belgium. Merckx retired from competition a year ago and now lives in Kelowna with his Canadian wife, triathlete Jodi Cross.
“I was in the Tour of Courage with Lance Armstrong last year and I think it’s a great cause,” said Merckx, 35. “It’s the least I can do. I got involved with the B.C. Cancer Foundation through my mother-in-law. She was a volunteer and also a cancer survivor. I’ve been touched close by and far away by several people fighting cancer.
“I think it’s very important to increase the power we have to fight cancer by supporting this cause.”
The biggest individual fund-raiser for the June 1 ride will receive a trip for two to the Tour de France. Also, 20 people who donate or raise at least $10,000 will be eligible to spend Saturday, May 31, with the celebrity cyclists, including breakfast at the Wedgewood Hotel, dinner at the Blue Water Cafe and a 2-3 hour ride during the day.