Former Sunderland star Marco Gabbiadini among cyclists on fund-raising bike ride

Riders taking part in a 320-mile bike ride across Europe to raise money for the Foundation of Light.
Riders taking part in a 320-mile bike ride across Europe to raise money for the Foundation of Light.
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Dozens of cyclists have set off on a ride from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean to raise funds for Sunderland AFC’s charitable arm.

Thirty seven Foundation of Light riders left the French coastal town of Arachon, near Bordeaux, on Sunday on day one of a four-day cycle to Gruissan, 320 miles away on the Mediterranean coast.

The group, backed up by a support and logistics team, will be averaging 80 miles a day during the trek.

They arrived into Marmande last night after a long first day in temperatures above 25 degrees.

The ride last year raised more than £90,000 for the foundation, which is involved with 40,000 people across the North East each year and uses the power of football to improve lives.

Former Sunderland striker Marco Gabbiadini is one of the cyclists.

“It was a gentle start to day one, but got a bit tricky with a few hills after lunch when the temperature was rising,” said the former Roker Park goalscorer who played for the Wearsiders between 1987 and 1991.

“The camaraderie of the rides and the support of the organising team, keeps us going, and everyone is enjoying themselves – so far.”

The group travelled from the Stadium of Light to Edinburgh Aiport on Saturday before flying to Bordeaux.

Once finishing the ride in Gruissan in southern France on Wednesday, they travel to Barcelona on Thursday before flying home.