Kimmage will be pulling on his jersey and retracing some of the miles he covered as a professional in the iconic Giro d’Italia, on the Genoa to Rome charity cycle.
Paul is joining 52 cyclists from around the country on the Kingspan sponsored cycle, which has raised €1.3m for the IHF since it started in 2009. The group fly out from Dublin Airport on Sunday morning and begin the cycle challenge on Monday, June 22nd.
Cyclists this year hail from Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Galway, Kildare, Clare, Meath, Westmeath Roscommon, Mayo, Kilkenny and Down and range in age from 30 to 72-years-old.
Amongst the group are a father and son-in-law, siblings, cousins and groups of friends who have been training and fundraising hard in advance of the 600km challenge. The oldest cyclist is John O’Gorman from Tramore, Co. Waterford, who is taking part for the fifth time.
The first leg of the cycle starts on Monday as cyclists hit the road and pedal their way from La Spezia to Pisa. Over the course of five days they will make their way through the stunning Italian scenery taking in famous Tuscany landscapes, medieval villages and breath-taking coastal views, before finally finishing up in Rome on Friday, June 26th.
En route cyclists will have the chance to tackle the climb at Mount Serra – which was twice featured in the Giro, and a legendary training climb for many pro riders.
The Sunday Independent journalist Paul Kimmage said: “I’m looking forward to getting on my bike for the 2015 Kingspan IHF Genoa to Rome Cycle Challenge and tackling the route with the other cyclists in aid of the vital work of The Irish Hospice Foundation.
“There is not a family in Ireland that is not touched by death and most have had experience of the care and dedication of staff working with the hospice services.”
This year the money raised from the cycle will support the IHF’s Nurses for Night Care Service, which provided 1,538 nights of free nursing care at home to people with a non-malignant terminal illness in 2014.
Demand for the service is increasing and in 2015 the IHF hopes to provide 1,800 nights of care.
Sharon Foley, CEO of the IHF, commented: ‘We are absolutely thrilled that Paul Kimmage is supporting our cycle this year. He is a sportsman who holds the admiration of the Irish people for the true grit he has displayed on and off the cycling track.
“The cycle is a crucial fundraiser and with demand growing we estimate that it will cost €600,000 to run our Nurses for Night Care service in 2015. This service is vital for patients and families and allows them to fulfil their wish of dying at home with dignity.”
She continued, “Paul and our 52 other cyclists are making a real difference to end of life care in Ireland. I’d like to say thank you to our sponsors Kingspan for their continued support and to all the cyclists who have fundraised so hard for us. Some of the cyclists are returning for the cycle again this year and we thank them for their continued support for the IHF.”