The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Alex Narey

FOR­MER Eng­land star Viv An­der­son will join the big­gest ride in foot­ball in 2019, as Prostate Can­cer UK’s £2m cy­cling event re­turns for a sev­enth year.

The ex-Not­ting­ham For­est, Arse­nal, Manch­ester United, Sh­effield Wed­nes­day, Barns­ley and Mid­dles­brough de­fender will sad­dle up for a fourth time in Prostate Can­cer UK’s an­nual ‘Foot­ball to Am­s­ter­dam’ bike ride from 7-9 June.

Start­ing out as a char­ity chal­lenge with just 35 riders in 2013, the ‘Foot­ball to Am­s­ter­dam’ bike ride smashed an in­cred­i­ble £2 mil­lion cu­mu­la­tive fundrais­ing land­mark in June 2018, with 400 riders tack­ling the 145-mile route.

This year, An­der­son, 62, will be­gin his ride from Barns­ley’s Oak­well sta­dium and fin­ish at Ajax’s Jo­han Cruyff Arena.

Speak­ing to The FLP, An­der­son, who has raised over £6,600 for the char­ity and cy­cled 435 miles over his three bike rides so far, said: “When I was first asked to do this, there was a pause for about an hour! Se­ri­ously, I hadn’t been on a bike for about 40 years and I was never any good at it then.

“But I did it with my brother-in-law first, and last year we had a team of around 16 peo­ple with for­mer Barns­ley and Sh­effield Wed­nes­day man­ager Danny Wil­son join­ing us. It’s a great event, and it’s such a great char­ity that does a won­der­ful job of spread­ing aware- ness so peo­ple know about this dis­ease which, if caught early, can be treat- able.”

While one in eight men will be af­fected by pros- tate can­cer in their life­time, that risk height­ens to one in four for black men and An­der­son, who was the first black man to earn a full se­nior call-up for Eng­land 40 years ago, is keen to ham­mer home the mes­sage about the most com­mon can­cer in men – on and off the bike.

He said: “De­spite my friends be­ing of a sim­i­lar age, ‘health’ is not a sub­ject that tends to come up in con­ver­sa­tion. I think we feel too em­bar­rassed to talk about our­selves and so we avoid the sub­ject al­to­gether.

“But prostate can­cer is some­thing that all men need to be aware of – es­pe­cially black men. I want to spend as much time as I can with my chil­dren and so my health is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant to me. Be­ing aware of your risk of prostate can­cer and con­fronting it could save your life.”

As for his train­ing tech­niques ahead of the big race, Viv has a fool-proof plan that is guar­an­teed to get him over the fin­ish­ing line!

“Lis­ten, when each ride is fin­ished I stick the bike back in the shed,” he says. “But we’ll get Christ­mas out of the way and eat all the mince pies as we al­ways do, and then it comes back out again in Jan­uary! It gives me some­thing to work to­wards and we hit the road twice a week as the train­ing picks up. It’s the only way to do it!” Viv An­der­son will be tak­ing part in Prostate Can­cer UK’s Foot­ball to Am­s­ter­dam bike ride for a fourth time on 7-9 June, 2019. Riders can re­ceive £25 off the reg­is­tra­tion fee with the code Orange25 by sign­ing up be­fore Fri­day, Novem­ber 30. Visit prostate­can­ceruk. org/am­s­ter­dam or email cy­[email protected]­can­ceruk. org or spon­sor him at www.just­giv­­ing/viv-an­der­son5.

PIC­TURE: Steve Smyth

BACK FOR MORE: Viv An­der­son

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