Sunderland AFC legend Marco Gabbiadini gears up for Foundation of Light charity cycle mission
Sunderland AFC legends Marco Gabbiadini and Ritchie Pitt are helping to raise thousands of pounds for a charity cycle challenge in aid of the Foundation of Light.
Former striker Marco is one of 38 cyclists riding from Geneva in Switzerland to Mulhouse in France over four gruelling days.
The first day saw the team reach the French town of Pontarlier after cycling 80 miles and climbing more than 6,000ft.
The cyclists are being helped by a support team which includes Sunderland 1973 FA Cup winning hero Ritchie Pitt, who is driving one of three support vehicles.
While Marco has completed the annual ride several times before, it’s the first time Ritchie has been involved,
Marco, who is cycling with his daughter Evie, said: “It was a tough first day with plenty of hard climbs, but the camaraderie among the riders is exceptional and helps to make the miles easier.
“Although it was tough, the route was stunning and we climbed out of Geneva with the magnificent backdrop of Mont Blanc. Most of our day was spent riding through Alpine villages to the accompaniment of cow bells.”
Over the past few years, the annual Foundation rides have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to support North East communities.
Previous rides have been from Dublin to Sunderland; Pisa to Venice; Brussels to Paris , the French Atlantic coast to the Mediterranean; Poland to Prague and, last year, Dubrovnik to Split in Croatia.
Jemma Dowson, Head of Events at the Foundation, said: “I think this year’s ride may be our most spectacular yet, with some breath-taking scenery and beautiful countryside.
“The annual rides are a unique experience, very enjoyable though hard work. Friendships are formed, goals accomplished and great memories made – and of course, money raised to help us continue the important work we do in the region.”
To sponsor the riders, go to https://www.justgiving.com/safc