24 APR 2017
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On your bike to help Alfieā€™s fight

21 April 2017

Following on from the success of its inaugural sportive last year, Armagh Down Cycling Club is proud to launch this year's Gullion Tour 2017.

Setting off from Newry on Sunday April 30, the Gullion Tour offers cyclists from all over the island of Ireland the chance to take on one of two fantastic routes riding through the Ring of Gullion - an area of outstanding natural beauty. 

And if the routes and scenery were not enough to tempt you to take part, this year the Gullion Tour will be raising money for local charity Fight for Alfie. 

Five-year-old Alfie Pentony was recently diagnosed with the fatal disease Duchenne Muscular Dystophy (DMD). This progressive disease will sadly attack little Alfie's muscles and they will gradually get weaker and weaker with the possibility that Alfie may only live until he is 20 years old. 

This means Alfie's parents, Coleen and Jamie, have around 15 years to try and find a cure or at least slow the disease until a cure is found. They have teamed up with Armagh Down CC ahead of the Gullion Tour to raise funds for research into the disease and all riders will be asked to make a minimum donation of £15/€15.

Armagh Down Cycling Club was launched late in 2015, and can already boast more than 70 members. In the past two years, the club has gone from strength to strength with riders representing Armagh Down CC in events across Ireland. 

Commenting on the Gullion Tour, Armagh Down CC Chairman, Benny Smyth said: “After last year's success, this year's event is already shaping up to be bigger and better. We are expecting a strong turnout and we welcome cyclists from all over Ireland to join us and enjoy what the Ring of Gullion has to offer.”

As Armagh Down CC continues to grow in stature, the members will be taking part in a number of events around Ireland throughout the year. Twenty members will be taking part in The Bike Station League organised by neighbouring club, Cuchulainn CC. This is the largest number of riders from a visiting club.

Reflecting the close bonds between the club and Cuchulainn CC Dundalk, Armagh Down CC has been invited to host a stage of The Bike Station league for the second year running. Last year was the first time an outside club had done this and now 2017 will see the league come across again into Ulster.

Armagh Down CC has also entered four teams into this year's Donegal Atlantic Way Ultra race, a challenging 555km route through the Forgotten County.

As for the Gullion Tour the high turnout expected will greatly benefit the Fight for Alfie.

"Crucially, we very much hope to raise much-needed funds for our chosen charity, Fight for Alfie. Unlike most five-year-olds, little Alfie Pentony is facing a huge challenge in his life, so we want to support him and his family fight this cruel disease," said Smyth.

Coleen Pentony added: "Our goal is to raise awareness of DMD and also raise vital funds to help research which is needed to save Alfie’s life. We don't want pity for Alfie’s disease. What we are asking of each and every local rider is to please take part in the event, and help us fight this cruel disease and hopefully find a cure for our little boy and all other children affected by this." 

A fully marshalled event, the Gullion Tour promises to be a fantastic day for riders of all abilities and there will be much-needed food and refreshments at the finish in Newry Sports Centre. For the 100k route there will be an additional food stop at Jonesborough Pastoral Centre. 

Registration is open from 8.30am at Newry Sports Centre with riders departing at 9.30am. Minimum donation is £15/€15. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/armaghdowncc

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