Thank you!

30/07/2010 Leave a comment

The fundraising is coming to an end, and I feel I have to thank everyone who has made this possible. Not a thank you from me, but from all the children who will benefit from your help.

Stuart MacLean
Where to begin? I don’t even know. This guy has gone out of his way to help out with the fundraising. Countless hours have been spent with me being oh so blond and not understanding html codes, how to use photoshop properly, changing blogs, listening to all my frustrations and joys of this journey, and so much more. And all this whilst doing his own fundraising and training for a 24 hours ride from London to Paris for Scope (which he finished in 23 hours 40 minutes!). He’s become one of my very best and closest friends through this, and I’m looking forward to the future charity projects we’ve been discussing, and sincerely hope I get to be a part of them. Thank you Stuart, I would not have been able to do this without you.

Will Bennett – Right To Play UK
Will got in touch with me when I first started out the fundraising. He’s arranged cycling challenges to raise funds for Right To Play, the latest from Brussels – London, and also works closely with Team HTC-Columbia. He’s given me a lot of advice and support throughout, and also a lot of great ideas. He even surprised me with a signed 2009 Team Highroad jersey for the fundraising.

Kristy Scrymgeour – Team HTC-Columbia
In the middle of the Tour de France Kristy has on several occasions helped me out and got the guys on the team to sign jerseys. She’s also helped with promoting the auctions, which have most definitely helped raise a lot more money than it would have without her help. A huge thank you for all your efforts and all your help.

Ellen Cohune – Team HTC-Columbia
Ellen was the first person to help me out with the auctions. She sent me a signed jersey and got me in touch with Kristy to also get it signed by the Tour de France team. In addition to that she’s helped promote the auctions and given me support and advice.

Will Frischkorn & Andrea Bisogno – Team Garmin-Transitions
These two guys went out of their way to get a jersey signed for the auctions, not just once, but twice. It did at one point “unfortunately” lead me to the team hotel without either of the guys or the jersey being there, but I really didn’t mind hanging out with the mechanics for a while. Thank you both!

Also a huge thanks to all of these:

Bryan Smith, Jonathan Vaughters & Toby Watson – Team Garmin-Transitions
For getting me in touch with the right people and giving me the best ending to the 2010 Tour de France at the POM After Party.

Sean Weide, Ian Sherburne & George Hincapie – BMC Racing Team
For sorting out the signing of the print and the picture to promote the auction!

Kristof Ramon – professional cycling photographer
For donating the print of the amazing photograph of George Hincapie and promoting the fundraising.

Koos Moerenhout – Rabobank
For helping me getting the jersey signed and getting it back to me once it got a bit lost!

Ted King– Cervèlo TestTeam
For donating his very fashionable socks for the auction, taking the time to do an absolutely amazing interview and promoting the fundraising.

Joao Correia – Cervèlo TestTeam
For donating items, telling other team mates about the fundraising and having them donating items as well, taking the time to do a fantastic interview and helping me out in Paris.

Carlos Sastre – Cervèlo TestTeam
For donating great items for the fundraising auctions.

Thor Hushovd – Cervèlo TestTeam
For donating the jersey he wore when he won the Norwegian National Championship for the auctions.

Karin Løkke – involved with all the Norwegian riders fan clubs
For donating the t-shirts, helping me promote the fundraising and introducing me to Thor Hushovd.

Ricardo Van Der Velde – Team Garmin-Transitions
For donating his signed jersey.

Steven Cozza & Scott Cozza – Team Garmin-Transitions
For donating a signed jersey & t-shirt to the fundraising auction, taking the time to do an interview, and in general helping me out.

Kristian House – Rapha Condor Sharp
For taking the time to do a fantastic interview and donating no less than two jerseys and a gillet for the auctions, and promoting the fundraising.

Michel Van Keulen and the rest of Right To Play NL
For donating 4 jerseys for the fundraising.

Gro Eide and the rest of Right To Play Norway
For continuous advice and support.

Mark Cavendish – Team HTC-Columbia
For promoting auctions and subsequently helping me raise a lot more money for Right To Play.

Ole Kristian Stoltenberg – Eurosport Norway
For promoting the fundraising to the Eurosport viewers during Giro d’Italia and Tour de France.

Joe & Dave Wilson
For interview and donating the t-shirt for auction.

The guys riding the Tour de France for Team HTC-Columbia, Team Garmin-Transitions and Rabobank
For taking the time to sign the jerseys.

All the riders who took the time to do interviews for the ‘Rider Of The Week’ feature on my blog:
– Stijn Vandenbergh (Katusha)
– Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Columbia)
– Kurt Asle Arvesen (Team Sky)
– Svein Erik Vold (Joker Bianchi)
– Jonny Bellis (Saxo Bank)
– Ingar Stokstad (Joker Bianchi)

And last, but not least, thank you to everyone who’s helped me promote the fundraising by tweeting and publishing on Facebook!

RIDER OF THE WEEK – Kristian House

30/07/2010 Leave a comment

Kristian was born in England, grew up in Austin, Texas, moved to Belgium at 18 to race and now he’s ended up back in the UK. He currently rides for the British team Rapha Condor Sharp and was the British National Champion of 2009. He’s a great team player as well as a great winner. He’s also known as ‘The House of Pain’ for always being on the front, riding hard for his mates and making life miserable for the other teams.

-What got you interested in cycling and when did you start?

Well I was always cycling from a young kid, not in any kind of racing sense, but just for fun and generally getting into trouble. We also only had one car and my dad would use that to get to work, so we’d ride to school, to the park, to soccer, or track and cross country. I only got into racing after meeting two racers in Austin, Heidi and Craig. They helped me find a team and from there I never really looked back.

-What have you sacrificed for cycling?

In short? A lot. That being said, I never really looked at it as being sacrifices as such. It was what I wanted to do so… I just did it. Its hard being away from family all the time, and when I left Austin at 18 and moved to Belgium, I did miss a lot of my friends and family. The great thing about being in this sport for the past 12 years is that I’ve experienced things I had never expected, like travelling to places I might not have if I wasn’t in this sport. But most importantly I’ve made friends for life. That’s something I wouldn’t trade.

-What is your biggest achievement so far?

The nationals.

-Do you look up to anyone? Who, why?

A really good friend of mine back in Austin, Darrin Fisher. This guy has been through so much in his life and to see him where he is right now is something I find inspiring.

-What would a perfect 2010 season be for you?

It’s already been perfect, I really can’t complain. Winning in Japan really was special, and to get a Tour Series win was brilliant too. Also winning in front of my mum back in Texas in the jersey was brilliant.

– If you could invite 5 people to a dinner party (dead, alive, or fictitious) who would they be and why would you like to invite them?

I’d only invite three. My brother, my uncle and my grandfather. To have one more evening with them… Well I don’t think I’d want anything more.

-Do you have a significant other? How does the lifestyle of a cyclist affect relationships?

No, I’m single. That’s a pretty tough question. I think it affects relationships quite a bit, considering how much I travel and spend training. That being said some people make it work without too many issues. I’m just not one of them, haha.

-We’ve heard rumours that you wax your legs. Do you do it by yourself or go to a salon?

Rumours? People talk about this? Haha. I have waxed my legs before… I’d never do it myself, I don’t know how people do that.

-What does it mean to you to be British National Champion? Have anything changed?

Its the proudest moment of my cycling by far. And something I’ve wanted for so long. The biggest thing that changed is the recognition that I get; people wanting to talk to me, autographs, and people wanting thing from me. At times it’s been overwhelming, but I’d not change it. It’s been an amazing experience. And I look forward to winning it again!

-When there are many centimetres of snow outside, how do you keep yourself entertained on the trainer indoors?

Who said I’m not outside? Haha. I’ve got quite a decent collection of movies, so I just set the laptop up and watch them. If I’m doing something more specific, I’ll listen to music.

-What was it like growing up in Texas? How is it different from England?

Austin is a brilliant city. If I ever do have kids it would be where I’d want them to grow up, if I lived in the states.

There’s so many differences between Texas and the UK. To many to list and both have their advantages. Where my family live in the UK, you can drive to another country in an hour. Less even. In Texas, an hour and I’m not even to the next city. I can’t remember how many times the UK will fit into Texas, but well, you know! Space is obviously an issue. There’s just a lot more of it there!

-Do you have a favourite charity? If so, which one?

I’d have to say the prostate cancer charity. I’ve done a fair bit of work for them over the past year and a half, and its something that’s grown in importance to me. The team backs them now, as do our sponsors Sharp UK, who just completed the RAAM for prostate cancer. They did amazing and finished 3rd!!

-Why do you think it is so important for children to have the opportunity to participate in sport and play?

I think it’s very important. Look at the Bahatti foundation and what they are doing there. It really is great to see. You don’t have to go that far to see it either, giving kids direction through sport can teach them the discipline they’ll need to go further in life, as well as keep them out of trouble. If they decide to take it further and travel with it, it’s a brilliant way to see the world and see new cultures. It’s one of the things I love most about doing what I do.


09/07/2010 Leave a comment

Now that the fundraiser is at its peak it’s time to introduce all the items which will be listed on eBay.

This is the 2008 Team Highroad jersey, which is worn by Servais Knaven during the 2008 Paris – Roubaix.

Knaven is a Right To Play ambassador, and is the last Dutch winner of Paris – Roubaix, which he won in 2001. He thought the 2008 Paris – Roubaix would be his last, but he decided to do two more with his new team Milram. This year he competed in Paris – Roubaix for the 14th time, which made him the cyclist who’s competed in this race most times.  – ends July 16th.

The 2010 Team HTC-Columbia jersey.

The jersey is signed by 17 riders, including this years Tour de France team:

Mark Cavendish, Mark Renshaw, Bernhard Eisel, Tony Martin, Bert Grabsch, Michael Rogers, Maxime Monfort and Konstantin Sivstov.

and also:

Andre Greipel, Tejay Van Garderen, Aleksejs Saramotins, Craig Lewis, Peter Velits, Rasmus Guldhammer, Frantisek Rabon, Michael Albasini and Vicente Reynes.

Team HTC-Columbia supports Right To Play and is very commited to this. Mark Cavendish attended the start of the Edinburgh – London cycling challenge in 2009 and Craig Lewis, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg and Evelyn Stevens traveled to Peru to visit one of Right To Play’s projects. Also in July every HTC-Columbia rider who wins a race will donate a percentage of their winnings to Right To Play.  – ends July 18th.

Lambstrong t-shirt signed by 26 riders.

This t-shirt was made as a joke on the wordplay Livestrong/Lambstrong, as a good friend of mines surname is ‘Lamb’. To understand it completely you would have to know everyone involved – but there is no harm meant to anyone, and Mr Lamb and everyone else involved is very happy to see this being used to raise money for Right To Play.

These have signed it:

Tom Boonen (Quick Step), Kurt Asle Arvesen (Team Sky), Bernhard Eisel (HTC-Columbia), Roger Hammond (Cervèlo TestTeam), Gabriel Rasch (Cervèlo TestTeam), Ricardo Van Der Velde (Garmin – Transitions), Steven Cozza (Garmin – Transitions), Robbie McEwen (Katusha), Filippo Pozzato (Katusha), Tyler Farrar (Garmin – Transitions), Greg Henderson (Team Sky), Matti Breschel (SaxoBank), Marco Bandiere (Katusha), Tom Stamsnijder (Rabobank), Jens Mouris (Vacansoleil), Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil), Damien Gaudin (BBox-Bouyges Telecom), Hayden Roulston (HTC-Columbia), Martin Velits (HTC-Columbia), Michael Barry (Team Sky), Adam Hansen (HTC-Columbia), Martin Reimer (Cervèlo TestTeam), Frederik Wilmann (Skil-Shimano), Thor Hushovd (Cervèlo TestTeam), Alexander Kristoff (BMC) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky).   – ends July 15th.

Steven Cozza – Never Give Up t-shirt.

This t-shirt was designed to support Steven Cozza’s Race For Kids Fan Club. Steven Cozza aims to raise $1 million for children around the world, and you can become a ‘Race For Kids’ member by donating to a charity, aiming to help children, of your choice. If you win one of these auctions you can also become a ‘Race For Kids’ member as 100% of the proceeds go to Right To Play. Find out how on

Normally $5 will be donated to a children charity from the purchase of these t-shirts, but for this t-shirt 100% will be donated to Right To Play. If you win you can choose which size you want.  – ends July 16th.

Koos Moerenhout’s Dutch National Championship jersey from 2009.

The Dutch National Champion from 2009, Koos Moerenhout‘s (Rabobank) signed jersey.   – ends July 15th.

Axel Merckx official Lotto Domo Tour de France jersey from 2005.

Eddy Merckx’s son Axel’s official Tour de France jersey from 2005, including startnumbers. – ends July 14th.

Official Rabobank Giro d’Italia 2009 jersey.

The official jersey the Rabobank team wore during the 100th edition of Giro d’ Italia in 2009, it’s a special Giro Centoanni jersey which includes the Italian colours and a Right To Play logo. Rabobank sponsors Right To Play. – ends July 14th.

Ricardo Van Der Velde’s Garmin – Transitions jersey

The jersey is signed by Van Der Velde, Cozza and 8 of the Tour de France team: Robert Hunter, Martijn Maaskant, Ryder Hesjedal, David Millar, David Zabriskie, Tyler Farrar, Julian Dean & Christian Vandevelde.  – ends July 17th.

2009 British National Champion Kristian House’s jersey.

Rapha Condor Sharp rider Kristian House was the British National Champion in 2009, and has donated a used and signed National Champion jersey.

Kristian House’s signed Tour Series leaders jersey.

Leaders jersey from 2010 Tour Series, worn and signed by Kristian House.

BMC Racing Team team photo.

Team photo of BMC Racing Team and staff, signed by all the riders:

Cadel Evans, George Hincapie, Alessandro Ballan, Chris Barton, Chad Beyer, Brent Bookwalter, Marcus Burghardt, Mathias Frank, Martin Kohler, Alexander Kristoff, Karsten Kroon, Jeff Louder, Alex Moos, Steve Morabito, John Murphy, Scott Nydam, Mauro Santambrogio, Michael Schär, Florian Stalder, Jackson Stewart, Danilo Wyss and Simon Zahner.  – ends July 16th.

Poster of George Hincapie, picture taken by Kristof Ramon.

A huge, signed poster of  an amazing picture of George Hincapie taken by Kristof Ramon.


17/06/2010 Leave a comment

Right To Play currently have 12,500 coaches in the field and are helping 720,000 children.

100% of the proceeds of the auctions go to Right To Play, and in 2007 87% of all funds raised went directly to the field.

You can make a difference by bidding, and hopefully winning, on items on eBay. Check out the auctions album and stay tuned for more items being added. The main fundraising is now, so there will be a lot of good stuff to bid on!

And it doesn’t have to cost a lot to help:

£15 / €18 / $22 – can pay for a child to attend our programmes twice a week for a whole year.

£15 / €18 / $22 – can contribute towards coach training in HIV/AIDS education, holistic child development or peace building.

£25 / €30 / $36 – can provide and deliver peace games to a children’s school.

£50 / €60 / $73 – can contribute towards a community Play Day.

£125 / €150 / $180 – can help stage an immunisation campaign in support of national health priorities.

RIDER OF THE WEEK – Joao Correia

08/06/2010 Leave a comment

Photo © 2009 Cervélo TestTeam & Jason Gould

The former Portuguese National Champion (ok, at age 6, but still!) is one of the new members of the pro-peloton this year. He raced pro when he was younger, then decided to enter the media industry, but luckily for us, he decided he’d rather ride his bike than sit in an office. He lost more than 25 kg and came back to the pro ranks with Bissel Pro Cycling in 2008. He is smart, funny and nice – which makes for great interview. Thanks to Joao for taking the time! Enjoy!

-What got you interested in cycling and when did you start?

My father got me started on riding and took me to my first race when I was six years old in 1981. It was the Portuguese National Championships for six year olds and it was just one other kid and I.

That was my first race and the other kid somehow crashed going over a water main on the street and I remember that I wanted to wait for him but my father who was running besides me said to keep going.  That’s how I became national champion.  I didn’t crash the guy I swear.

-What have you sacrificed for cycling?

I think every athlete at all levels sacrifices something for their sport.  Geez I don’t know, I think youth went out the window.  I never really did things like other kids while I was growing up.  But you get some much from it like discipline and maturity that it was a small price to pay.  Recently my biggest sacrifices are tied to my family.  I have a lot of support from my wife and children but they pay a heavy price for me being away in Europe while they are back in New York.  I worry a lot about the price that my son is paying for not having his father around at such a young age.

-What is your biggest achievement so far?

My biggest achievement so far on the bike is just getting across the finish line and helping the team as asked.  To me personally that really is a big achievement considering that I was working until December 1st and really was out of the sport for almost fifteen years.

-Do you look up to anyone? Who, why?

Yes of course.  I look up to a lot of people.  I think it’s important to have good examples in your life.  Everybody has hard times at some point and having good role models can help you make the right decisions.  Probably one of the people that I look up to mostly is my former boss Chris Lambiase.  He is somebody who helped guide my career off the bike from early on and was an excellent example of how you can succeed in business and still maintain your values.  When I became a father and a husband he was a constant gut check.

On the bike probably Inigo Cuesta who is one of my current teammates.  Inigo has been a professional for 17 years and to me is a fine example of what a professional rider should be.  Basically professional in every aspect of his craft.

-What would a perfect 2010 season be for you?

For me if I could finish every race I enter and help the team as asked it would be a perfect season.  On a personal level I’d like to become Portuguese National Champion and where the national champion’s jersey in races outside Portugal.

-What 3 things would you change about cycling?

That’s a tough question and I’m not an authority.  I think we just need to continue to become a sport that is truly professional.  We can’t achieve that without having a clear vision of where the sport is going and unity amongst all the stake holders in the sport: Teams, riders, race organizers and governing bodies.  If you can achieve that then everything else comes pretty easy.  Right now I think it’s a fragmented sport.

-What 3 things make you proud to be a cyclist?

The sacrifices you make as a cyclist is one.  It’s a very hard sport that takes a lot of commitment and passion and I am proud to be part of such a sport.  The fact that the sport is getting cleaner and cleaner and being part of that changing culture is something that makes me proud to be a cyclist.  And last the ability to put in all this work and then see how the boy reacts.  It’s a sport that if you do the right things in training, nutrition, racing and resting you are rewarded personally as an athlete.

–     If you could invite 5 people to a dinner party (dead, alive, or fictitious) who would they be?

Another tough one.  I would say for sure my two grandfathers who have passed away, one whom I never met since he passed away when my father was young.  My wife’s maternal grandmother.  She talks about her all the time and I would really have liked to have met her.  Charlie Rose would be good just to direct the conversation in the right direction and I’d leave the last seat empty for now to figure out just before dinner whom I should invite.  Maybe somebody like God.  I’ve got lots of questions.  I’d make sure my uncle cooked and I’d pick all the wines.  And trust me there would be lots of great wines.

and a few questions fans have suggested;

-How is it being on a team with Thor Hushovd and Gabriel Rasch?

It’s great.  I obviously knew of them before coming to the team and they were the two people who helped me the most when I first got to the team.  Gabriel helped me find my first place here and I’m living in the same city as Thor and both him and his wife have gone out of their ways several times to help me get settled.  I train with him most of the time and it’s nice to see such a successful athlete also be such a great person.  I know he once bumped into a few Norwegian cyclists out riding and they got talking and he invited them for coffee.  How many pro athletes would do that?  I think that is a really unique thing about cycling.  The athletes are approachable and happy to talk to people.  There is no field or fence to stop you from going up to a rider and speaking with them.

-Would you rather wear World Champion, Maglia Rosa or Yellow jersey?

They are all special jerseys in their own right but if I had to pick it would be the World Champion’s jersey.  You wear that one for a year and get custom kit made for you so you never have to look for it in the laundry.  No more writing your name on clothing.

-How is it being in Cervèlo? Do you get a chance to get to know everyone?

It’s a great team.  Very unique and a special culture of racing, product innovation and fan access that I think is unique in professional cycling.  I have gotten to know all the riders and staff since we’ve had two camps where everybody was present and generally the race programs tend to be mixed but you end up staying in touch with most of the people you’ve met even if your not racing with them.

-Which race would you most like to win during your career?

-Do you have a favourite charity? If so, which one and why?

Boy were really going for the tough questions here.  I’d say the World Championships or Olympic Games.  To be an Olympic Champion is something that you have for the rest of your life and is very unique.  Same for World Champion.  Chances are pretty small but if were talking about any race then might as well go for the big ones.

I have several charities that I support including the Lance Armstrong Foundation as well as the Davis Phinney Foundation focusing on Parkinson’s disease.  I don’t have a favorite or one that is personally the closest to me since I think most people get close to charities about issues that have touched them personally and both myself and my family have been very blessed by not having many tragedies in our lives.  I try to support as many different issues as possible and think it’s an important civic duty we have as global citizens to support charities and help others that who may be less fortunate.


01/06/2010 Leave a comment

The 26 year old was born in Oudenaarde, the centre of the Flemish Ardennes, and at 1.99m he is one of the tallest riders of the peloton. He started his pro career with the protour team Unibet in 2007, was offered a contract with AG2R-La Mondiale in 2008 and after a year in the French team he moved to Katusha and has been there since 2009.

-What got you interested in cycling and when did you start?

I started cycling when I was 12 years old, but I started competing when I was 17 years old. I turned pro in 2007. One of the things I like about being a cyclist is that I get to travel and see a lot of nice countries, like Australia and Malaysia.

-What have you sacrificed for cycling?

I have to go to bed early and I don’t get to go to many parties with friends.
-What is your biggest achievement so far?

Starting in the Tour de France and being able to finish it in a way I’m happy with.
-Do you look up to anyone? Who, why?

Cadel Evans because I think he lives 100% for his job and think he does it clean.
-What would a perfect 2010 season be for you?

Just one victory in a race. I also want to start the Tour de France again and I want to do a good job for my team mates, and I also want to be selected for the WC in Australia.
-What 3 things make you proud to be a cyclist?

Starting the big races, ‘monuments’ like the Tour de France, Paris – Roubaix and Ronde van Vlaanderen.

–  Which race would you most like to win in your career?

Ronde van Vlaanderen

–   How do you relax after a particularly hard race?

With some good party music

–   What’s your favourite race of the season?


–   If you could have a super-power in one race, what race would it be and why?

In Tour of Flandres or Paris – Roubaix, but also the Belgian championcips, then I can show the belgian tricoloré for one year !

-Why do you think it is so important for children to have the opportunity to participate in sport and play?
It’s important for the health of the child and to build character that you can also use later in life.


01/06/2010 Leave a comment

Two auctions have finished, but there’s still loads of goodies for you to bid on! 100% of the proceeds go to Right To Play, and it will also be put towards the total of Steven Cozza’s Race For Kids Fan Club.

The first auction to finish now is Carlos Sastre’s signed startnumbers from Volta a Catalunya!

The rest of the auctions you can see here.