This week sees the start of the European Velo Marathon, a 4000 km bike tour departing from Bulgaria on 2 June and arriving in London on 25 July, just two days before the Olympic Games start. The cyclists will be carrying an alternative Olympic torch to hand over to the Mayor of London as a symbol of athletic stamina and perseverance.
One of the 20 or so cyclists who will set off from Sophia is John Hazlewood, an American businessman who has been living in Bulgaria for the past 15 years, and a strong supporter of the initiative trying to encourage road peace and safety. He has invited Lance Armstrong, a fellow Austinite, to join in on the way to London.
The 55-day marathon follows the EuroVelo cycling routes, passing through 11 countries, including Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic and the ride is close to 4000 km. Once they reach London on 25 July, the cyclists will pass over to the Mayor the alternative Olympic torch as a symbol of athletic stamina and perseverance.
Professional cyclist Lance Armstrong is royalty in the world of sports. He had won battles on two major fronts – having won Tour de France for seven consecutive times and beating cancer. Being diagnosed at the age of 25, Armstrong was given only 40 percent chance of survival. Undergoing rigorous treatment he fully recovered and returned to training and competing two years later. To support cancer survivors and their families, he founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation (www.livestrong.org) whose motto is “Unity is strength, knowledge is power and attitude is everything.”
Such values perfectly express the main objectives of the Velo Marathon which is also to encourage, to empower, to raise awareness, and to make dreams come true.
“I decided to invite Lance Armstrong to participate in the Velo Marathon because I know Lance loves Europe and I thought it would be a great opportunity to have him visit Bulgaria,” said John Hazlewood. “Lance is from Austin, Texas, and so am I. We have mutual friends, so I decided to contact him and ask him to join us.”
John Hazlewood, an internet entrepreneur who started the first online travel booking site in the US in 1995, is currently the CEO of the international internet travel company TravelStoreMaker.com and the travel agency www.CenTransit.com. Both are based in Sofia and have customers in more than 25 countries.
As part of the preparations, Mr Hazlewood has prepared a web press conference for 4pm CET this afternoon to talk about his upcoming participation in a marathon
To participate you have to register and log in by following the provided link and the attached instructions. All you need is a computer and a headset with a working mic. Why? To encourage road peace and tolerance toward all bicyclists; to inspire Eco, Fitness and Healthy lifestyle through biking.