Eyeworth man saddles up to impress his wife

An Eyeworth man has set himself the ambitious challenge of taking on four of Prostate Cancer UK’s cycling events over four months, after being inspired by his wife’s world-leading research into the disease.

Matt Dainty will saddle up and tackle the charity’s Football to Amsterdam and Grand Depart Classic events in June, before completing an impressive quartet with the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 in August and the inaugural Worlds Classic in September.

The road races will be a change of scenery for the off-road cycling enthusiast, whose wife, Dr Hayley Whitaker, undertakes pioneering research into prostate cancer at University College London funded by Prostate Cancer UK.

Matt said: “I was looking at events to raise money through and thought: ‘That will keep the wife happy!’. I may regret signing up to all four Prostate Cancer UK events – we’ll have to see how well I get on in the first one!”

Hayley has been working on new tests and scanning techniques to more accurately diagnose prostate cancer, so less men have unnecessary treatment and the most aggressive cancers are caught earlier while they can still be cured.

She said: “I often talk to Matt about my work and I hadn’t realised how much it had inspired him until he decided to take on his crazy cycling challenge. I have been lucky enough to work with Prostate Cancer UK and many patients over the years and the impact of prostate cancer on people’s lives is something I feel passionately about – and now Matt does too.

“I am amazingly proud of Matt for doing this challenge and he has already started putting in many hours in the saddle, with me acting as chauffeur to different cycling events.”

Matt will kick off his 485-mile summer of cycling with Prostate Cancer UK’s Football to Amsterdam bike ride, which will see him join over 500 football fans on a pedal pilgrimage from the iconic Queen Elizabeth Park’s Lee Valley VeloPark to the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam from 7-9 June.

Just three weeks later, he will blaze a trial for the likes of Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome by taking part in Prostate Cancer UK’s Grand Depart Classic from 28-30 June; a three-day, 120-mile challenge which gives riders a taste of the Tour de France by inviting them to tackle the opening stage of the legendary road race, this year held in Brussels, Belgium.

Matt will make it a hat-trick in the saddle at the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100; a ride created as the Olympic legacy event. The 100-mile effort gives 25,000 riders the chance to ride a closed road circuit through London and Surrey, inspired by the 2012 Olympic Road Race.

And his fourth and final excursion is the Worlds Classic, a replica of the road race stage of the UCI Road World Championships from 6-8 September 2019. Starting and finishing in Harrogate, Yorkshire, the 200km ride takes in the climbs made famous by the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart - Cray, Buttertubs and

Grinton Moor - as well as the stunning scenery of the Yorkshire Dales.

The money Matt raises through his challenges will help fund vital research into prostate cancer – a disease killing one man every 45 minutes in the UK.

“Knowing that one in eight men in the UK will get prostate at some point in their lives makes me a bit nervous,”

Matt said. “At 41, I know I’m on the verge of entering ‘the risk’ zone.”

Many people are unaware that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. One man will die from prostate cancer every 45 minutes in the UK. That’s over 11,500 men a year. Based on current trends, if we ignore prostate cancer and do nothing, this number will rise to over 14,500 men a year by 2026.

To find out about the Grand Depart go to granddepartclassic.org and or more information on Prostate Cancer UK’s schedule of cycling events, visit prostatecanceruk.org/cycling or email cycling@prostatecanceruk.org.

To donate to Matt’s JustGiving page, go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/matt-dainty-2.