French weather doesn’t floor Chris
August 15, 2011 by Grace Franklin
Cathcart resident, Chris Muldoon, has conquered one of the world’s toughest amateur cycling challenges, along with 11 of his colleagues from Sky in Scotland.
They took part in the Etape du Tour – a race for amateur cyclists covering the same route as one stage of the iconic Tour de France only days after the professionals.
Chris and the Sky team covered the gruelling Issoire to Saint-Flour route in the Auvergne region – one of the toughest sections of the Tour de France. Each cyclist who completed the course clocked up a total of 130 miles across the mountainous terrain in the worst weather in the history of the event. Organisers even withdrew many of the cyclists for their own safety.
A manager at Sky’s Livingston site, Chris, who is 28, completed the ride in nine hours 36 minutes after being forced to take an alternative route due to the dangerous weather conditions.
He said: ‘Despite the torrential rain, the freezing winds, the numbness of the hands and the uncontrollable shivering from the cold, the entire day was such an experience. Riding a stage of the Tour de France that the pros had completed only seven days earlier, with over 4,000 like-minded cyclists, was immense.
‘I was a complete novice before beginning my training with Sky for the Etape. I hadn’t owned a bike for years and only bought my first road bike in March this year. Despite the tough challenge of the Etape, I will be keeping up cycling.’
Sky supported 150 of its employees across the company to ride the 2011 Etape. Ranging from hardened cyclists, regular commuters and determined beginners, the team received six months of training, guidance and support in the lead up to the event from British Cycling, a Sky partner since 2008.
Involvement in the Etape du Tour is part of Sky’s overall commitment to encourage its staff and customers to cycle more, with the aim of getting one million more people cycling by 2013. The company also runs initiatives such as British Cycling led lunch time cycle rides from its offices, a free bike lending scheme for staff, and annual Sky Ride events which see staff and members of the public enjoying mass traffic free cycling events in city centres across the UK.
Anyone interested in cycling with Sky can sign up for one of these events – the Glasgow Sky Ride – on Sunday 11 September. Aimed to raise awareness of cycling and to encourage more people to get on their bikes, registration is via the website: www.goskyride.com.