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Trade takes on cycling challenge for charity

db editor Patrick Schmitt and 10 other members of the wine trade are to cycle almost 500km in four days across France for The Benevolent.

The aim of the cycling challenge is to raise a target of £30,000 of vital funds for the drinks industry charity The Benevolent

The ride will begin on Monday 1 June when the cyclists head south from a start point at the M. Chapoutier winery in Tain l’Hermitage, finishing at Collioure near the Spanish border on Thursday the same week – and the challenge has been dubbed the Tour de L’Oc, after the ancient name for the region, Occitania.

Organised by Mentzendorff managing director Andrew Hawes, this is the ninth charity cycle ride led by the head of the UK wine importer for Bollinger Champagne, and probably the hardest.

Taking in the punishing ascent of Mont Ventoux, the intrepid wine trade cyclists will have to climb the 1,912 metre mountain, famous for its barren summit and high winds.

The mountain is most famous as the hardest climb in the Tour de France, and nearly destroyed the 1970 Tour de France Champion Eddy Merckx, who rode himself to the brink of collapse, requiring oxygen to recover during the climb – although he went on to win the Tour de France that year.

Joining Andrew Hawes and Patrick Schmitt on the ride this year will be the WSET’s Ian Harris, Simon Tester from The Champagne Company, Chris Matthews from Berry Bros. & Rudd, William Reed’s Andrew Reed, and Stuart Gillies from Gordon Ramsay Holdings.

Also joining the ride from Mentzendorff will be James McKenna (sales director), Alan Montague-Dennis (prestige director) and Andrew Wilkins (business development controller).

Importantly, the aim of the cycling challenge is to raise a target of £30,000 of vital funds for the drinks industry charity The Benevolent.

If you would like to sponsor Patrick, you can visit his fundraising page here.

The summit of Mont Ventoux. Picture source:

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