‘Mad Mal’ rides again for tough cycle challenge

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HE’S faced cancer twice – and now this 71-year-old grandad has conquered one of the world’s most difficult cycling feats.

Malcolm Davidson completed the toughest stage in the Tour de France for the 14th time, despite being given months to live last year.

The pensioner from Rothwell, Leeds, battled searing 42 degree heat to ride the 136km Cingles du Mont Ventoux in eight hours and 40 minutes, raising thousands for charity.

Mr Davidson, known affectionately as ‘Mad Mal’, said: “It felt amazing to get to that finish line.

“I felt ecstatic during that final ascent, knowing I had completed my challenge – going through those bends at 45mph was fantastic.

“My motivation during the challenge was to think ‘how low and weak did I feel during chemotherapy, compared to today, doing this mighty challenge?’.

“The chemotherapy was always the worse of the two.”

He was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007 but in January 2011 was told he had the terminal asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma.

But the keen cyclist was still determined to complete this leg of the race – described by seven-time race winner Lance Armstrong as ‘the toughest climb you can take on in France’.

Mr Davidson added: “I’m just determined to keep going, and keeping fit can only help my chances. I also couldn’t do it without those around me – my wife and family, and my cycling group, the Seacroft Wheelers, have all been more supportive than I could ever imagine.

“My wife Norma was fantastic during the ride, and provided me with everything I needed – in many ways her job was as hard as mine.”

The cyclist, who was named member of the year by the Seacroft Wheelers last year, was raising cash for prostate cancer and mesothelioma charities.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell is helping him to fight for compensation from his former employers over he exposure to asbestos.

Solicitor Ian Toft said: “Malcolm showed incredible determination to somehow complete what is an extremely difficult challenge even for the fittest of riders, let alone someone who has been through so many difficulties.”

Visit www.justgiving.com/cingles or: www.justgiving.com/Malcolm-Davidson2 to support his fundraising.

Dr Barbara Hibbert, former Harrogate school teacher and cancer blogger. Picture: Yorkshire Cancer Research

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